Tom Holdman at window unveiling

Roots of Knowledge Reveal

On Tuesday, June 30, the next installment of a unique art piece was unveiled in front of a private audience. Two sections were revealed, each consisting of six panes of stained glass, and are just the beginnings of an artwork that will attract thousands looking for a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity.

"Roots of Knowledge" is a massive work of art to be installed at Utah Valley University in celebration of the University's 75th anniversary. It's purpose? Chronicle the history of knowledge and human civilization in stained glass. The 200-foot-long window will be made up of 80 panes of glass and will become a permanent fixture in UVU's library.

"Roots of Knowledge" is more than just an installation at the University; it is a collaborative project among several groups. Tom Holdman and Cameron Oscarson of Holdman Studios are working with their talented team to create the stained-glass windows. These two artists meet regularly with a UVU committee of faculty and staff members for insight on how to best achieve artistry, balance and coverage of the most iconic moments of our history. Although Holdman and Oscarson have researched extensively what will go into the piece, they remain open to feedback, maintaining a standard of collegiality.

Ross Wolfley speaking of Roots Media's involvement

Also taking part in the project are Lee Groberg and Ross Wolfley of Roots Media. They are producing an episodic film series to accompany the artwork that will explain its creation process and will use storytelling to help viewers understand what the windows represent. "This is the most ambitious project that we have ever taken on. We want to create not only a film that stands the test of time but also a worthy companion to these windows," said Wolfley. Since those who won't be able to view the windows in person will greatly outnumber those who will, the film will take the educational experience to the rest of the world. It is expected that the four-part film series will air as a PBS television special and will be broadcast worldwide. The footage created will also be used in interactive applications alongside the window.

Tom Holdman explaining the window's content

At the event, Holdman explained a few of the elements he wished to portray in the window, beginning with humankind's inception. Within the first panes, people of all ethnicities are shown emerging from a tree whose roots spread throughout the rest of the windows. The dawn of humanity is then represented with a beautiful sunrise. Some of the panes show early crops and the transformation of hunter-gatherers into farmers. A series of ancient writings and artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Rosetta Stone and the Code of Hammurabi are replicated in intricate detail and show the evolution of written language.

In expressing his passion for the project, Holdman explained, "Most people think of history as boring. We are trying to show people that history can be interesting. If we don't inspire those who come after us, then our history and knowledge will fade away."

Roots of Knowledge window pain space and planets

The twelve panes unveiled at this event will be installed at a later date along with the rest of the panes and will be revealed during a grand unveiling. Those who visit the library will still be able to view the first section of the windows, which have been permanently installed. With your support, work can continue on this masterpiece, and the completed window will be ready for installation in late 2016 as a grand finale to UVU's 75th anniversary celebration.

Please visit http://www.rootsofknowledge.org/simply-donate to learn more and to make a donation to Roots of Knowledge.

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