April Malphurs has lived in St. Peter, MN since 2003, but it was her childhood growing up near the Corning Museum of Glass in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State that developed her fascination with glass at a young age. April’s artistic training began at Cornell University with a major in interior design followed by a master’s degree in art education at Teacher’s College Columbia University where she began to pursue sculpture as her medium of choice.
For several years April focused on developing young artists through teaching in NY, MA, and MN. She worked to inspire children to use art to express their own ideas about the world while exploring various art media in both public school and community settings. She spoke at state and national conferences, as well as local colleges in Massachusetts, on artistic development, open ended themes, process and portfolio retrospective shows. Additionally, in 2008 April started and directed a non-profit organization, the Creative Play Place, a free indoor play and arts area, located in the St Peter Community Center, for families. In 2011 she returned to teaching art at Hoover Elementary in Mankato, MN.
April was always captivated by light and reflection. As a sculptor, she is interested in not only the subject matter of her art, but also the way light and shadow interact with the sculpture itself. Glass not only creates beautiful reflections and shadows, but also lets light flow through it, giving life to the glass, allowing it to have conversations with you as you interact with and observe it. This is what drew April to working in glass.
In 2010, April studied flame working with Karina Guevin and Cedric Ginart at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass and that same year was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council to establish a flame working studio. As she worked and developed her jewelry, she became interested in creating sculptures that combined the elements and style from her jewelry pieces. While she was pleased with the results, she felt restrained by the scale of work she could create with flame working alone as the size made it difficult to exhibit. To create the visions she had for her sculptures, she applied for and received an Artist Career Development Grant from The McKnight Foundation through Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council to learn glass blowing in 2015. April has since taken several glass blowing classes through FOCI Minnesota Glass Arts, where she is a member, and has worked closely with two mentors from there, Sofia Lorraine and Allison Luhman, to advance her skills at glass blowing. In addition, April attended week long glass blowing intensives at The Studio Corning Museum of Glass with Nick Mount June 2016, with artist Claire Kelly on cane working and murrini February 2017, and color and patterning techniques with Laura Donafer June 2017 and 2019 thanks to emerging and mid-career artist grants from the McKnight Foundation through Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council.
April was awarded first place at the Woman Made Mid-West Regional Exhibit 2019 in Chicago. April’s work has been displayed in a number of shows: Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council Juried Art Shows 2015, 2016, and 2017; Guest Artist Exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota May 2016; “Show Your Artistic License” 401 Project Fall 2015; Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council Grantee Exhibit 2013, 2017 and 2019; Reflections in Glass Solo Shows St. Peter Public Library 2012, 2016 ; “Celebrate, Contemplate” juried show Flow Art Space, St. Paul December 2016; Healing Arts Show Owatonna Hospital – Owatonna Arts Center March-June 2017; Reflections in Glass solo show Waseca Arts Center November 2017; Reflection/Refraction: capturing joy through glass, Saint Peter Arts Center March 2018; The Midwest Regional at Woman Made Gallery, Chicago January 2019; and The Guild, Northfield August 2019.