The Bay Area Glass Institute was founded by students from San Jose State University in 1996 as a hot-shop. This idea came about for an area where the students and other artists could gather to create their glass pieces of art.
The institute is still used by glass blowers to create their pieces, along with fusers and torch workers; it is also used as a public education facility. The institute hosts private educational glassblowing demonstrations for many different groups including students from the university, Girl and Boy Scouts and senior citizen organizations. Demonstrations run for an hour.
Visitors to the demonstrations are to wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved cotton shirt and long cotton pants; it is also recommended that visitors bring sunglasses and a baseball gap. The pieces that visitors create are available for pick up approximately two days after their visit.
One of their main missions at the institute is to educate the public about glass art and give visitors the opportunity to learn the craft. Lessons are available in beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. The studios are also available for rental by local artists to develop their art.