Doug Frates Glass brings international attention to Springfield

When Doug Frates earned a spot in Tucson, Arizona’s celebrated Sonoran Glass Art Academy, he had already distinguished himself and his talent. The Iraq War veteran’s civilian career in art continued to take shape as he trained under mentor Fritz Dreisbach, who is considered by many to be a founder of the American Art Studio Glass Movement. After he finished training, the St. Louis native moved to Columbus, Ohio, to be closer to family. In 2010, five years after founding Doug Frates Glass, he opened his studio in Springfield, Ohio, where he has played a key role in the revitalization of downtown’s art scene.

Many of Frates’ pieces evoke the style of famed American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (perhaps the most recognizable art glass installation in the world is Chihuly’s Fiori Di Como at the Bellagio hotel Las Vegas. It’s a mesmerizing array of huge glass “flowers,” cast in vivid jewel tones layered onto the lobby ceiling.)

Frates creates custom installations and art objects for individuals, businesses, and organizations all over the world, putting “his signature” on a place by adding his unique take on color, shape, and light.

In his studio:

“Springfield has been very beneficial [for me],” says Frates. “The cost of living, it’s accessible, it’s in the middle of the country, I can ship anywhere … at virtually the same prices from east coast to west coast. So it was a good choice.”

“I put a lot of effort into when Mother Stewart’s [Brewing Company] was opening,” Frates says. “They’re great people and I wanted to do something … honorable to the town that helped me grow my business.”

In his gallery:

The diversity of color and texture makes Frates’ pieces look like shells or coral pulled straight from the sea.

“I just like being different,” Frates says. “I still have to pay the bills, and I have to cover production. But at the same time, I like being creative in a way that does something new.”

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