posted February 01, 2004 09:27 PM
Here is Cosmosphere's press release:
Cosmosphere commissions tribute to fallen astronauts, space program
Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass to create commemorative panel
HUTCHINSON, KAN. - As the nation marks the one-year anniversary of the shuttle Columbia accident, the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center announced plans to proceed with an extraordinary commemorative stained glass creation designed by Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass, Wichita, Kan.
“Randy Rayer and his team of artists have designed a stained glass work that honors both the accomplishments and challenges inherent in America’s space program,” said Jeff Ollenburger, the Cosmosphere’s president and CEO. “By displaying this exceptional piece of art upon its completion, we hope to pay tribute to the sacrifices of individuals who accept incredible risks as part of their daily job.”
Designed to celebrate the state motto of Kansas, Ad Astra per Aspera, “To the stars through difficulty,” the 8 ft. by 10 ft. stained glass panel will also commemorate the loss of American astronauts from the Apollo 1, Challenger (STS 51-L), and Columbia (STS 107) missions. Expected to take a year to complete, the project will incorporate flown shuttle tiles from earlier Challenger and Columbia missions, and pieces of concrete from Apollo 1’s launch pad.
“The Cosmosphere is a Kansas jewel and it will be an honor to have our stained glass suspended over the entrance to the Hall of Space Museum greeting visitors for years to come,” said Randy Rayer, Rayer’s Bearden Stained Glass’ chief executive officer.
Artists at Rayer’s have been planning and designing the project for over two years. Production will include painting and firing many of the individual glass pieces, carving the surface color off of blown German antique glass, and employing their expertise in every technique for leaded stained glass available, said Rayer.
Contributing a large portion of the costs for this project, Rayer’s has also designed a variety of gifts given to astronauts by the Cosmosphere and, in 1999, created a miniature Cosmosphere-in-glass that was displayed at the White House as part of the Saving America’s Treasures program. Randy Rayer is a founding donor to the Cosmosphere’s Foundation and has been working with the Cosmosphere since 1979.