Celebrating seventy-five years with glass art

Celebrating seventy-five years with glass art

By RaVae Black

Photos courtesy of uvu.edu

In honor of UVU’s upcoming 75th anniversary, the school is set to receive a 2,000 square foot glass mural. The project, entitled “The Roots of Knowledge,” will be a celebration of both past and future knowledge, and students are encouraged to contribute.

Beginning next week, pieces of the mural will be put into place at the UVU library. An additional structure will be built to house the finished project. A private celebration will be held in honor of the installment at the end of this month.

“The Roots of Knowledge” project is privately funded by donors wishing to add to the beauty and culture of UVU. It is a large undertaking as the concept and design phase has been underway for nearly six years. The construction phase is expected to take three years. The project will also require up to thirty glass artists working under the direction of Tom Holdman, owner of Holdman Studios at Thanksgiving Point.

”Our hearts, minds, and souls are fully on board with this project. This will be the culmination of our life’s work,” said Holdman. The project holds a special significance for Holdman and his co-designer, Cameron Oscarson, as the two have been working on the concept for several years.

Holdman began creating stained glass art pieces at the age of twenty-one.  He worked out of his parents’ garage and sold his pieces door-to-door. He has since developed his passion into a business, beginning Holdman Studios in 1988.

Holdman Studios is now a world-renowned stained glass company with clients including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Roman-Catholic church, Brigham Young University, and St. George City. The studio’s artwork can be viewed locally in several LDS temples, the Orem, America Fork, and Highland libraries, Zermatt Resort, Clyde Companies, and Magelby’s. They also offer classes in stained glass and glass blowing at their studio at Thanksgiving Point.

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“This project will far exceed everything we have ever done as far as the majestic nature of the piece,” said Holdman.

Holdman depicts the roughly 10 foot by 200 foot mural as the story of mankind.  The image represents varying cultures and contains historically-significant elements, including the solar system, the development of written language, and some of the major world landmarks.

“It is a great story that needs to be told,” said Holdman. “It is not just a pretty window.”

The mural image “begins” with a three-story depiction of the world’s oldest tree.  The roots of the tree then lead viewers along the various general timeframes of knowledge development.

A uniquely designed computer program will highlight key features within the piece as well as the construction process.  Observers will be led through the historically significant images as they click through the program.  Details within the mural can be magnified and linked to outside informational sources.  The glass mural will include elements of stone and petrified wood as an additional interactive component.

Holdman feels the piece will not only attract students but also members of the community.  He hopes the project’s interactive qualities will have a global impact.

“The whole faculty has gotten involved in the process,” said Holdman.  He hopes students will see the significance of the piece and want to be a part of it. “Not only will it be an excellence educational experience, but it will look great on a resume.”

The interactive mural will be completely unique to UVU. Though the project isn’t expected to be completed until 2017, students are encouraged to get involved now.

Competitive internship positions are available in disciplines ranging from art and design to history and literature. Students can contact the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Brian Birch, for more information.

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