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Artists/Directors: Meet the Team


Meet the People Behind the Art

Eric Hess - CEO/Artistic Director


Born in New Orleans, Eric Hess began his training with sand casting Glass Artist Mitchell Gaudet.  After training with Gaudet, Eric enrolled in the glass program at Tulane University in 2012, under    internationally known glass artist Gene Koss. Eric won a Joan Mitchell Scholarship to train during the Summer of 2012 with Ben Write  at YA YA Glass Studio in New Orleans. After two years of advanced course work at Tulane he was excepted into the MFA Glass program at The University of Texas at  Arlington. Eric receive his MFA in Glass and Sculpture in May of 2018. In 2016 Pilchuck Glass School awarded him a scholarship to study with Aesa Bjork. He has completed an artist-in-residency program at  the Washington School of Glass with Tim Tate. He also received the 2016 Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass’ Visionary Scholarship. In 2019 Eric received the Bess and Harvey Littleton Scholarship and studied under Dave Walters at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. Eric was the only American to be the recipient of the international Stanislav Libensky Award in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 2019. Eric’s work has appeared at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington, National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, The Alexandria Museum of Art, The New Orleans Museum of Art, Nave Museum of Art in Victoria, Texas and The Louisiana State Museum’s Capitol Park Museum. Eric also curated an exhibit on the works of Texas contemporary glass artists for the Nave Museum in Victoria, Texas in the Summer of 2017, which was later exhibited at ArtSpace in Shreveport, Louisiana. Recently his work was acquired by the Museum of Glass for their permanent collection. Eric has exhibited extensively and has taught Sculpting, Glass  Sandcasting and 3D Designer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Eric is member of the Glass Art Society, Arts Council of New Orleans and Shreveport Regional Arts Council. Prior to his career as an artist he was the Executive Director of the Ballet in New Orleans and wrote grants for the New Orleans Symphony and New Orleans Opera. He owned Hess Marketing and advertising in New Orleans for 20 years and has served on over 20 nonprofit Boards of Directors. Eric is also the Curator for SAS Gallerie.

Ryan Pepe - Studio Director

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Our Studio Director Ryan Pepe received a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Studio Art with a minor in Economics and Public Policy. He attended classes at Urban Glass in New York and Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. He has worked as a senior glass artist at Hammerton Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah and as a glass artist at Prairie Dog Glass in Santa Fe, New Mexico, He has assisted glass artists Gene Koss and Ben Dombey in New Orleans. His expertise is in Glassblowing, Kiln Cast Glass, Glass Enameling, Cold Working of Glass. He is Sanctuary Glass Studio’s Studio Director and conducts all beginner and advances glass classes. His glass art was recently exhibited in an exhibition at the Alexandria Museum of Art and in ArtSpace's Critical Mass.

Bess DeFord - Studio Assistant
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Bess comes to us from Natchitoches, Louisiana. She started by taking our 8 week intensive course in glassblowing and then the intermediate class. She advanced quickly and has. now been hired by Sanctuary Glass Studio to conduct glassblowing workshops and assist in our school. We are pleased to have her as a studio assistant. Bess has also trained in painting and drawing and her work has been showing throughout North Louisiana. 

Todd Herzog - Lead Studio Assistant
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Todd was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He received his Bachelor of Business Management from Louisiana Tech University. He lived in San Diego, California for 15 years managing an offset printing facility. He also lived in Denver, Colorado for eight years managing a fine arts supply store before moving back to Shreveport. In late 2022 he began his training as a glass artist at Sanctuary Glass Studio. He has completed the two 8 week courses in beginners and intermediate glass blowing. He is now with us as a studio assistant. 

Victoria Pouncey - Painting Teacher


Katla Rahko
Studio Assistant

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Parkman Bailey
Studio Assistant

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