The Traver Gallery opened in its doors on September 7, 1977. The first exhibition featured seven local painters, many of whom had been William Traver's professors at Cornish College of the Arts. The gallery's roster grew, and Traver, who developed his space as "a theater for the visual arts," mounted two to three solo exhibitions each month for artists working in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, clay, and glass.
William Traver has always made it a priority to support artists early in their careers, and many of the artists he worked with early on—Martin Blank, Sonja Blomdahl, Gregory Grenon, Doug Jeck, Dante Marioni, Preston Singletary, Therman Statom, Lino Tagliapietra, Bertil Vallien, and Jamie Walker, to name a few—have subsequently achieved international reputations.
In the early years of the gallery's existence, the well-known arts patron Anne Gould Hauberg asked Traver to curate a Pilchuck Glass show. The same willingness to take on young artists applied to a young art form. He agreed, and continued to host what became an annual exhibition, putting him at the center of Seattle's developing Studio Glass movement. Throughout the years, the popularity of glass has grown immensely—nurtured by Traver and several dedicated collectors—and the gallery has become an international destination for contemporary glass enthusiasts.
Always looking for new ways to support emerging artists, William Traver opened the retail shop Vetri at First Avenue and Union Street in 1995.
Located one block north of the Seattle Art Museum, the Traver Gallery is one of the country's premier exhibition spaces for contemporary studio glass, painting, sculpture, and installation art.
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