Art’s Keens Retires, Leaves Glass Legacy

David Keens, an internationally renowned glass artist, has retired from the University of Texas at Arlington after serving on the faculty of the Department of Art & Art History for 39 years.

Keens’ works are in several prestigious collections, including The White House in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, N.M.; the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan; and Cam Ocagi (the permanent collection of a foundation devoted to contemporary art glass) in Istanbul, Turkey.

Keens was named Texas State Artist in Three-Dimensional Media in 2007 by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas State Legislature. In 2008 he created UT Arlington’s ceremonial mace in glass and metal, assisted by Adjunct Professor Fred Miller. A Professor of Art, Keens received the UT Arlington’s Award for Distinguished Record of Achievement and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Scholars.

David Keens works on a glass piece at the College Park Center before it opened in 2011. (Photo credit: Beth McHenry/University Communications)
David Keens works on a glass piece at the College Park Center before it opened in 2011. (Photo credit: Beth McHenry/University Communications)

Keens was the coordinator of the glass program and directed its studio; several of his commissioned pieces can be found around the campus, including large-scale works in the College Park Center and the University Club. During his tenure at UT Arlington, glass faculty, students and alumni have won international acclaim for their innovative and beautiful work.

The program’s interim coordinator is Justin Ginsberg, visiting assistant professor and an alumnus of the program. Ginsberg’s work has twice been selected by for inclusion in the Corning Museum of Art’s New Glass Review as one of the best works selected from thousands of entries submitted by artists around the world. His work has appeared in numerous juried solo and group exhibitions in America and internationally.

Robert Hower, department chair, praised Keens for his “significant impact” in the development of the glass program. Hower said Keens and his wife will retire to their home in Palm Springs, Calif.

Hower also said the department will invite Keens back to campus later this fall to celebrate his legacy with a special event.

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