Projects 2017-2000 > Yonder and Beyond, Geiger Elementary School. Lewiston, ME

Yonder and Beyond

Geiger Elementary School, Lewiston, ME
Percent for Art

2010

There are 21 windows in the Geiger Elementary School project, nine in the library and twelve in the cafeteria. The windows are installed in groups of three. In each group there is a large window (27”h x 37”w x ½”d) flanked by two smaller windows (27”h x 25”w x ½”d).

The materials are stained glass with fired in handpainted and photo-silkscreened images, sandblasted images, copper foil, solder, and zinc calme.

The school was designed around the theme of the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, and my window designs use the same spirit of exploration, adventure and wonder. The library windows are bold and graphic, but still have the layering and intriguing imagery that are the hallmark of my work. They are filled with references to history, culture, and natural history from all over the world.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” inspired me to go further afield than I usually do, incorporating ancient surveyor’s drawings from Rome, Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map of the World, other maps and postage stamps from faraway places, Micmac Indian writing, and birds from New Guinea. There are mysterious, odd-looking islands and fortresses, little gondolas outlined in dotted lights, exotic species of plants and animals that are both elegant and comical, handwritten journals from Darwin’s voyage to the Galapagos, and Thoreau’s travels in Maine.

The cafeteria windows have the same basic approach, but focus on space and undersea exploration. There’s a wonderful Henri de Montaut illustration called “Projectile Trains to the Moon” from Jules Verne’s 1874 book, From the Earth to the Moon Direct in Ninety-seven Hours and Twenty Minutes, and a Trip Around It. There are ancient astronomical tools, ocean current maps, NASA photos, the Arecibo space message, our galaxy, amazing creatures, drawings of Atlantis, the Hubbell telescope, and more.

Instead of the mysterious little gondola traveling through the library windows, the cafeteria panels have a ship sailing among the stars, an image that I’ve come up with as another reference to seeking and aspiring. It also ties the oceans in with the space theme, since the word “astronaut” means someone who sails the stars.

Photos by Jim O’Neil