In addition to the Glass Lab, UW–Madison is one of only a handful of schools in the U.S. that has a full service facility for creating neon art.

Tom Zickuhr is a lecturer in the Art Department who teaches a popular neon course titled, “Neon: Light as Sculpture,” every semester. It regularly fills up and has a waitlist of students from the Art Department and beyond.

Zickuhr notes that it is very unusual for artists to have access to this specialized equipment. He tells his students: “Take advantage of your time in this room — you may never have this opportunity again.” Neon is a “brutally difficult,” highly technical art, says Zickuhr. He works very hard to build students’ technical, or “hand” skills, while also nurturing their creativity.