Student-designed stained glass window installed at Lab

Student-designed stained glass window installed at Lab

Over spring break, workers carefully installed a new piece of art at Earl Shapiro Hall: a stained glass window, Lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly, designed by fifth and sixth grade students. The project, which began around the time Lab announced its plan to build an early childhood campus, "would create a bridge to connect the new building with its contemporary architecture to our beloved Historic Campus and its medieval-inspired, neo-gothic style," says Lower School Fine Arts teacher, Philip T. Matsikas, who conceived of the idea as a gift to the new building and led the project.

All of the art featured in the window is student created. The completed in-class art assignments of Monarch- or Milkweed-inspired drawings formed the foundation of the initial work of art. Next, students in the Summer Lab class, Gertrude Stein Meets Godzilla while Picasso and Darwin Chase Dragonflies, co-taught by Matsikas and Lower School homeroom teacher Lisa Sukenic, completed the art and designed the basic composition of the window.

"The actual glass window, built by the artists at Colorsmith Stained Glass Studio in Riverside, Illinois, strives to faithfully translate paper and paint artwork into glass and maintain the unique beauty and expression of the children's original art," Matsikas says.

The window reflects generous contributions from across the Lab community. The specifically chosen butterfly life cycle expresses that magical and scientific component of the early childhood program at Lab. Funding for this project came from sales of fifth grade fine arts note cards as well as from families who also donated time and energy.