David Keens, The Famed Professor Of Glass, Is On The Short List Of Nominees For Texas State 3D Artist

There can't be many college classrooms where so many spectators clamor to watch the professor and his students work that they've had to install bleachers.

That, however, is the situation at the University of Texas at Arlington's glassworking studio on Davis Street.

"It's the best facility in the nation -- the only one in Texas. It's amazing," said art major Dara Atkinson, rushing around the furnace-lined studio, a place that's known as "the hot shop."

But, said UT-Arlington neon instructor Don Beck, "It pretty much wouldn't be here if he hadn't taken it on. It's his baby."

Beck was referring to David Keens. A 33-year UT-Arlington veteran, Keens is more than a highly regarded teacher. The Texas Commission on the Arts recently put him on the short list for its State Artist honors program.

The program honors a poet laureate, musician, two-dimensional artist and three-dimensional artist each year. Results for 2007 are expected in January, said commission spokeswoman Gaye McElwain.

"I'm very flattered to be nominated," said Keens, a compact man with a short graying beard and mustache, small red spectacles and strong forearms that come from years of handling heavy steel bars with hot glass on one end. "It's not something I applied for."

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600450 David Keens, The Famed Professor Of Glass, Is On The Short List Of Nominees For Texas State 3D Artist glassonweb.com

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