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University of Connecticut University Libraries


March 16 - May 15, 2009

"Saphire Bird" by Debbie Tarsitano

Portraits in Glass, by Debbie Tarsitano

Homer Babbidge Library Gallery on the Plaza
Curator: Chris McNevins

As a child growing up outside of New York City in the 1960s and ‘70s, Debbie Tarsitano remembers creating art as soon as she could hold a pencil. By high school, she had developed a love for portraiture, drawing and oil painting. And in 1976, she graduated from Hofstra University with a BFA in painting.

While still in college, Tarsitano joined her father in collecting art glass as a hobby. Soon, that fascination led them to build a glass studio in the family garage. After trial and error, using torches, colored glass and optical crystal, she succeeded in translating her design ideas into glass art.

After the millennium Tarsitano embarked on a new path, experimenting with hot glass sculpture that incorporated contemporary themes and portraits in glass. She began to focus on reinventing the portrait using colored glass rods and powders. She then took the further step of including small glass sculptures as design elements in oil paintings on canvas. The result is a new mixed media presentation.

“My work must remain deeply personal to be real as it continuously evolves,” says Tarsitano. “After thirty-five years I feel there is still much to explore, transitioning portraits into glass.” Debbie

Tarsitano lives and works in Westford, Massachusetts. For more information, visit her website at

View here the exhibit on YouTube!