2024 Visionary Artists

2024 Visionary Artists:  Dan Dailey and Judith Schaechter

World renowned glass artist Dan Dailey has been honored as one of the two recipients of the 2024 Smithsonian Visionary Award for his innovative and captivating glass sculptures. Dailey has a unique ability to fascinate with narratives of human experience and expression, inviting viewers into a world of imagination.

Dailey employs “imagery, high contrast, simplicity of form” and symbolic rather than representational elements in his artwork. He pushes the boundaries of traditional glass composition by incorporating metal into many of his sculptures. In the 2019 Dailey retrospective at the Chrysler Museum of Glass, it was stated that he is “known as one of the most unique voices within the field of contemporary glass.”

Dailey received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Philadelphia College of Art and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design.  Named Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art, Dailey founded the Glass Department there in 1973. He has had a long, inspiring teaching career at numerous institutions and has lectured and given workshops worldwide.  Dailey has been the recipient of many awards, including the Renwick Gallery Distinguished Educator Award, James Renwick Alliance Masters of the Medium Award, and ACC College Fellow of the American Craft Council. His work is included in many permanent collections including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.


Because of her unique creative vision and exceptional artistry, Judith Schaechter has been named one of the two recipients of the 2024 Smithsonian Visionary Award, selected in her chosen discipline of stained glass. By melding contemporary themes and techniques within an ancient tradition, Schaechter has redefined conventional stained glass.  She brings a profound sensitivity to her vivid interpretations, exploring the dichotomy of beauty and darkness.

Schaechter mixes medieval art with universal and modern imagery and symbols, creating panels that are typically provocative and complex. To produce her painstakingly detailed work, Schaechter meticulously cuts, then variously files, engraves and further treats small tiles of flash glass before assembling them in large, often multi-layered arrangements to correspond to her inventive sketches. The intense colors are not typically painted in her work but created by layering colored glass upon colored glass, often illuminated from behind in a light box. 

As a renowned educator, Schaechter is an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Arts and has taught and lectured often.  She received her Bachelor of Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her talent has garnered widespread recognition with numerous grants and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Crafts, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and The Joan Mitchell Award.  Her art is part of the permanent collections in numerous public museums, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The Smithsonian Visionary Award is presented annually by the Smithsonian to American artists who are deemed by experts in the field to have achieved the pinnacle of sculptural arts and design, who have works in major museums and who demonstrate distinction, creativity, exceptional artistry and vision in their respective medium.  Previous awardees include Albert Paley, Wendell Castle, Toots Zynsky, Dale Chihuly, Faith Ringgold, Joyce J. Scott, Patti Warashina, David Ellsworth, Michael Hurwitz, Chunghi Choo and Mary Lee Hu.