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Stained Glass Learning Project from Utah Valley University on Exhibition at The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York

13 October 2016 No Comment

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 |lshumway@uvu.edu

Chris Taylor | 801-863-8484 | taylorch@uvu.edu

Orem, Utah/New York City – Utah Valley University (UVU) and The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York, today announced that the General Society’s first Artisan Lecture of the fall will be, “Illuminating Knowledge: Creating a Major Stained Glass Installation to Foster Engaged Learning at Utah Valley University.

The program will discuss Roots of Knowledge, a significant new work of stained glass that will soon be installed in the library at UVU in Orem, Utah. Concurrently, six original windows from the artwork will be on view at the General Society Library. Conceived by Utah artist Tom Holdman and commissioned by UVU, Roots of Knowledge combines the work and guidance of 40+ professional artists, 26 UVU scholars and more than 350 UVU students. UVU began as a vocational college and today maintains a unique dual mission as both a vocational/community college and four-year university. The permanent installation will be unveiled on Nov. 18 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of what is today the largest public university in the state.

Through the Artisan Lecture Series, now in its seventh season, The General Society pays tribute to the art of craftsmanship. The series features artisans and craftsmen who discuss the intricacies of their specialized work, to ensure that their unique knowledge is shared and carried forth for future generations.

In Utah, Roots of Knowledge will anchor an undulating wall of 80 stained glass windows, totaling 10 feet high by 200 feet long, comprising 60,000 pieces of glass. Imbued with jewel colors, the windows represent a narrative of world history, designed for engaged learning and teaching. Intricate details within each pane chronicle the human quest for intellectual advancement, encompassing major achievements, from the Mayan Calendar to the American Civil Rights Movement. The story begins with a life-size depiction of one of the oldest living trees, and its roots and branches travel chronologically through the entire length of the artwork. A single window includes 13th and 14th century representations, including Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire; the Mosque of Isfahan in Iran; Dante Alighieri, “the Father of the Italian Language”; and the University of Krakow, the oldest university in Poland, whose most famous student was Copernicus. Another, from the late 1800s – early 1900s, includes a quote by Cuban revolutionary Jose Julian Marti; portraits of Marie Curie and Henrik Ibsen; a kiosk in Paris; and the great Indian hornbill, the symbol of the Bombay Natural History Society.

“Roots of Knowledge is an extraordinary project which uses the traditional form of stained glass as a teaching tool,” said Victoria A. Dengel, executive director of The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen. “We are pleased to host a preview of this ambitious work of art and education before its permanent installation at a fellow institution committed to vocational education. The team behind this engaged learning experience will launch our Artisan Lecture Series and will focus on the unique collaborative effort of artisans, educators and students that helped bring this project to life.”


The public program will take place Monday, Oct. 17, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm followed by a reception from 8:00 – 8:30pm. Cybele Maylone, Executive Director of Urban Glass in Brooklyn, will give an introductory lecture on contemporary stained glass, followed by a panel discussion about Roots of Knowledge. The panel will consist of Matthew S. Holland, president of Utah Valley University; Tom Holdman, artist; and Kate McPherson, professor of English at Utah Valley University. Rebecca Allan, artist and former director of public programs at Bard Graduate Center, will moderate the discussion.


Concurrently, from Oct.12-17, six original glass panes from the project will be on view at The General Society Balcony. The Roots of Knowledge exhibition will be open to the public for viewing October 12-15 and 17 in the balcony gallery of The General Society’s Mossman Lock Museum during the following hours:

Wednesday, Oct. 12 – 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 13 – 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 14 – 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 15 – 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 17 – 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For more information visit http://generalsociety.org.

The Roots of Knowledge project is made possible through a public-private initiative led by UVU and Holdman Studios, one of the country’s top stained glass art studios based in Lehi, Utah, with funding from a generous donor community.

Roots of Knowledge Fast Facts:

  • 80 panes
  • 60,000 pieces of individual glass
  • Combines the work and knowledge of more than 40 professional artists and 26 UVU scholars
  • Over 350 UVU students participated in the project, as painters, project managers, programmers, designers and artists

Additional Resources:

About Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college, and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education and engaged learning.

About Holdman Studios

Based in Lehi, Utah, Holdman Studios has been designing glass art since 1988. It has been commissioned worldwide to design and create various projects in glass, each unique in its own style and design. Many projects have been completed for commercial buildings, private residences, religious institutions and public art projects. Under the leadership of Tom Holdman, the Holdman Studios’ team of artists designs every stained glass window from scratch. The studio’s work is on display in all 50 states and several countries worldwide.

About The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesman of the City of New York

The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York was founded in 1785 by the skilled craftsmen of the City. Today, this 231-year old organization continues to serve and improve the quality of life of the people of the City of New York through its educational, philanthropic and cultural programs including its tuition-free Mechanics Institute, The General Society Library, and its century-old Lecture Series.



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