Stephens Chapel, Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Craig Kinney, AIA: Kinney Franke Wehrner Architects, San Angelo

Cache Tankersley, Const. Mgr.; David Scott, Superintendent: Collier Construction, Lubbock

7.7' w by 24.0' h

Narthex Window: Beacon
7.5' w by 13.9' h

Side Windows: Arabesques
4 at 1.8' w by 7.2' h

The Narthex & Altar Windows face each other across this nondenominational chapel. They climb upward out of the same palette of darker color seen in the ‘Arabesque’ windows lining the sides of the Chapel below. As the two larger windows rise, their colors brighten, echoing the allegory of the Victory of Light over Darkness that’s an integral part of the religions of the world.

ALTAR & NARTHEX WINDOWS: ‘LIGHT TRIUMPHANT’ and ‘BEACON’: The ever-changing, 3-dimensional nature of mouthblown stained glass adds to a sense of the sacred within the Chapel. The windows invite each worshiper to discover their own personal meaning. Depending on the time of day, season, weather, and one’s frame of mind, individual interpretations will vary along with the stained glass. Sometimes you may simply experience a meditative “glow” while gazing through the windows, watching leaves rustle in the breeze as a fluffy cloud passes by. At other times the stained glass’s transparent, abstract imagery might inspire you to contemplate more deeply your unique place in the world and your relationship with its author.

White opalescent glass creates the focal point in the upper reaches of both Narthex and Altar Windows. This “light” radiates down into the “darkness” where it could be interpreted as the “creator’s” reassuring presence during our search for enlightenment. Or do the filmy opals and bright tints represent unexpected gifts from “above”? Or maybe this dazzling brightness represents the higher spiritual plane to which we aspire? Or… ?  In contrast, the increasingly darker colors seen in the lower sections of these windows, which seems to “flow” into the Side Windows below, can be thought of as the grounding principle of our corporal existence here on Earth. 

SIDE WINDOW ARABESQUES: When this project began, the windows along the east and west sides of the Sanctuary were a single, simple design, repeated ten times. Although it took a lot more effort to design and make them, the more I thought about it, I realized I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create unique designs for each window. The stained glass concept grew into a suite or series of “arabesques”. These flourishes never fully reveal themselves, but rather dart in and out of view, implying movement and spatial flow beyond the narrow window frames. Partial circular arcs and flowing shapes hint at a more expansive, comprehensive reality that’s happening just beyond the picture-plane – a reminder of how our perception of the infinite and understanding of our spirituality are never complete, but (hopefully) are always connecting, growing and becoming. Also, notice how the color palette in these windows shifts from cooler greens and blue greens at the back of the Chapel into warmer purples and violets near the Altar Window.


I toured the Chapel this afternoon and was awestruck by the beauty of your creations.  The colors are so vibrant and rich and yet I can still see thru the glass as I had hoped.  I love the progression of colors as you move towards the altar and I love the color change as the eye ascends towards the great north window.  But I believe the greatest surprise is when you turn around and see the glass over the main door with the tree beyond.  So lovely, a masterwork. – Craig Kinney, AIA, Stephens Chapel Architect

Materials: German, Polish & French Mouthblown Glass, lead & solder.