Photo taken by Paul S. Bartholomew. Reproduction is not allowed.
The ArtsQuest™ Center at SteelStacks™ is a four-story, contemporary performing arts center and cultural campus with three outdoor performance venues that will bring local, regional and national artistic, musical and cinematic performances to the Lehigh Valley 365 days a year.
Located in the center of the ArtsQuest Center's three-story-tall spiral staircase, The Four Elements is a dynamic work of art that features more than 900 custom-crafted glass pieces, each one made at ArtsQuest's Hot Glass Studio at the Banana Factory, the only hot glass studio in the region. The work of art, dedicated during a special ceremony today, was designed by ArtsQuest glass studio artists John Choi and Dennis Gardner and took more than six months to create.
Made possible through the gracious support of principal donors Hal and Terri Lubsen of Center Valley, The Four Elements weighs approximately 3,700 pounds and is illuminated by hundreds of LED lights, highlighting the unique characteristics of each piece of glass. The sculpture was created using a variety of glass making techniques including hot glassblowing, glass sculpting, flameworking and stained glass techniques.
Since early fall 2011, Choi and Gardner, along with glass artists Dan Getz, Brian Toseland and students at the Banana Factory's hot glass studio, have put hundreds of hours into the project, with the goal of completing the work of art for the ArtsQuest Center's first anniversary celebration, set for April 26-29. All of the 900-plus glass pieces were hand-set on the sculpture, a process that took more than two weeks to complete.
"With The Four Elements, we wanted to represent something that is universal to everyone while looking at it in a spiritual way," says Choi, Glass Studio Director for the Hot Glass Studio at the Banana Factory. "It's our hope that this work of art encourages people to think about what's important in life - to celebrate life and being alive and appreciate everything that's around us."
"When viewers look at The Four Elements, I hope it gives them a sense of excitement and reminds them of what's really important in life," says Gardner, ArtsQuest's Glass Studio Manager. "One of the reasons we created this work of art is to highlight the fact that the ArtsQuest Center is a cultural arts center that showcases a variety of art forms. While many people visit the building for concerts, we want this piece to remind them of the important role the visual arts play in our lives."
In addition to the Lubsens, several local businesses and individuals also stepped up to help make the work of art a reality. Among those lending a hand to help complete the sculpture were the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers Local #36, which assembled and installed the armature; Sobrinski Painting, which painted the armature; Albarell Electric, which did the electrical work; ArtsQuest Project Director John Raymond; and Barry Isett & Associates, which provided structural engineering services.