Utah Valley University Partners with Utah Education Network to Bring Stained Glass Creation to K-12 Classrooms

UEN to create curriculum and field trip programs based on groundbreaking stained glass Roots of Knowledge installation at UVU library

Orem/Salt Lake City, UtahUtah Valley University (UVU), Utah’s largest institution of higher learning and Utah Education Network (UEN), a nationally recognized innovator in broadband and broadcast delivery of educational services for educators and students, today announced plans to create companion curriculum and field trips to accompany the Roots of Knowledge stained glass undertaking soon to be a fixture on the UVU campus. The bold and large-scale permanent public art installation will debut Nov. 18 and mark the culminating moment of UVU’s 75th anniversary celebration. Tapping the ancient storytelling art form of stained glass, while uniquely adapting it for a modern, secular setting, UVU is creating both a singular artistic landmark on campus and a powerful engaged learning model for the state.

Roots of Knowledge will be comprised of 80 individual panes that will span an epic 10 feet in height and 200 feet in length when completed. A fusion of art, education, and public space, Roots of Knowledge starts with the dawn of humanity and ends with the present day. The series of stained glass windows chronicles the human quest for intellectual advancement and progress. The panes are vibrantly colored glass paintings and interpretations of world history, including major inventions such as the Mayan Calendar and the printing press; important figures such as Joan of Arc and the Kangxi Emperor; and the American Civil Rights Movement; and thousands of other historical figures, tools and events. The sweeping panorama begins with a life-size depiction of one of the oldest living trees, the bristlecone pine Methuselah, in spring, and its roots and branches travel chronologically, interlacing like the strands of a DNA chain across all 80 panes. Altogether, Roots of Knowledge incorporates 60,000 pieces of glass, as well as actual rock, fossils, coins, meteorite, petrified wood and coral.

Conceived by Utah artist and former UVU student Tom Holdman and UVU President Matthew Holland, Roots of Knowledge combines the work and guidance of 40+ professional artists, 26 UVU scholars and more than 350 UVU students.

“Roots of Knowledge is an extraordinary blend of art, education and history and we immediately recognized its potential as a learning platform for teachers and students,” said Laura G. Hunter, Chief Operating Officer for UEN. “In our role as an aggregator and producer of curriculum resources, we are honored to join with UVU to extend the reach of Roots of Knowledge through rich educational materials and field trip opportunities for students and teachers across Utah. Our approach in creating curriculum builds on the wonderful engaged-learning model behind the creation of Roots of Knowledge and embodied at UVU.”

The UEN curriculum will be tailored to a variety of subjects – such as social studies, math, science and language arts – and will include coursework related to field trips to view the Roots of Knowledge windows. The Roots of Knowledge curriculum will include lesson plans and discussion activities to help students understand the purpose of this art project as well as the history it depicts.

“As one of the nation’s premier education networks, UEN will be an invaluable partner in helping UVU bring the myriad educational lessons encapsulated in Roots of Knowledge to millions of Utah’s students,” said President Holland. “We believe that this major art project, which has been in the works for over a decade, will not just teach students about world history, but will also help them understand the contribution each and every one of them can make to this world.”

The partnership between UEN and Roots of Knowledge exemplifies UVU’s engaged learning philosophy. As one of the four core themes of UVU, engaged learning immerses students in real-world contexts within their curriculum and activities outside the classroom. UEN, which provides broadband infrastructure and support to Utah public education, higher education and libraries, will be providing web-based educational outreach, including video clips, virtual tours and other resources, to complement the Roots of Knowledge installation. Distance education programs will also be developed for students unable to visit the campus.

Roots of Knowledge Fast Facts:

  • 80 panes
  • 60,000 pieces of individual glass
  • Combines the work and knowledge of more than 40 professional artists and 26 UVU scholars
  • 350+ UVU students participated in the project, as painters, project managers, programmers, designers and artists

Additional Resources:

About Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to nearly 35,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college, and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education and engaged learning.

About Utah Education Network

The Utah Education Network (UEN) is a statewide broadband and broadcast network established by the Utah Legislature in 1989 that offers a scope of Broadband Infrastructure, Interactive Video Conferencing and Instructional Resources to more than 800,000 students and educators statewide.

In 2014, the Utah Education Network (UEN) and the Utah Telehealth Network (UTN) merged to form the Utah Education Telehealth Network (UETN), one of the nation’s premier education networks. The UETN brings together two well-established organizations that provide critical statewide services to Utah and connects all Utah school districts, schools, and higher education institutions to a robust network and quality educational resources.

About Holdman Studios

Based in Lehi, Utah, Holdman Studios has been designing glass art since 1988. It has been commissioned worldwide to design and create various projects in glass, each unique in its own style and design. Many projects have been completed for commercial buildings, private residences, religious institutions and public art projects. Under the leadership of Tom Holdman, the Holdman Studios’ team of artists designs every stained glass window from scratch. The studio’s work is on display in all 50 states and several countries worldwide.



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