The front of the stained glass as seen in the future new books area
- The back of the stained glass as seen from my office
Wow. They have installed the stained glass piece designed and created by Rudy Bushcott. Rudy is Fort Atkinson’s assistant city engineer. He gave the library this work of art a number of years ago. We had it hanging up high, way above our checkout desk. It was the best spot we could find for it in our old library due to space constraints. Many people remarked on its beauty over the years. But just as many people may never have noticed it because the placement and lighting didn’t do it justice.
When we cleaned out the old library, Rudy kindly came in and boxed it up for us so we could transport it to safety because we had plans to reuse it in our new library.
Not too long ago I got a call from site superintendent, Tom Laufenberg. He said they were ready for it. So back to the library it went for installation as the window to the director’s office. The front side faces the new books area; the back side is in my office. It’s eye level and the light shines through the glass providing the stunning view you see in the photos.
You will notice the view in my office is better than the view from the public side. I actually asked Tom (as politely and carefully as possible) if they’d installed it backwards. He smiled at me and said, “No, Connie, we knew you’d want the front side facing the public. We asked Rudy which was the front before we installed it.” He showed me that the cables running down the backside determine orientation. The difference, of course, is the lighting. Because my office lights were not fully installed, the darkness of my office lent itself to the perfect viewing of stained glass. The light from behind illuminates the piece giving it unbelievable depth and richness. In fact, I could hardly imagine something more beautiful. The first time I saw it I found myself speechless.
In life, as in art, perspective matters. The stained glass is the same as it has been since the day we first hung it years ago. But looking at it in a different place changes everything. When you look at anything in life from another angle you may notice something you missed before. When you are in the midst of difficulties, it helps to remember that sometimes you actually need darkness before light shines through and repaints your picture. In my own life, I’ve found that you just have to keep looking until you find the view that yields clarity. This library project was years in the making and would not have moved forward if many people hadn’t had faith that our library could be expanded and redefined, much like a fully illuminated work of art, because it was brought forward during a very dark economic time.
I’m forever grateful to everyone who shared in the vision and helped. When all is said and done, libraries are about helping people find their best view of life. They allow someone to step inside and right into the shoes of another. They teach people to reach. They inform, educate, enlighten. They afford unlimited opportunities for growth.
A library can not only change your perspective, it can change you.
Thank you for helping foster growth in such a beautiful way, Rudy.