Beth El Congregation- Akron, Ohio
Pillar of Light Ark Wall and Donor Recognition Project
“The focal point of a new chapel, a shimmering “Pillar of Light” enhances the serenity of the sacred space and encourages spiritual reflection and personal prayer. Inspired by sacred texts and ancient symbols, this 6ft. by 25 ft. mosaic was created using thousands of pieces of luminous, iridescent, recycled glass. Bathed in natural light from a skylight above and framed by a view of the sky and trees, the reflective glass takes on a different aura each season of the year and each hour of the day and night inspiring the congregational community to reflect upon the beauty of nature. Scattered throughout the “Pillar of Light” are pieces of the vintage stained glass from the congregation’s original location creating an inspiring spiritual connection from one generation to the next--emphasizing the importance of preserving our environment for generations to come.”
The architectural elements surrounding the Holy Ark created a frame for the artwork. The sliding doors were integrated into the artwork to create a seamless” Pillar of Light” from floor to ceiling.
One of the most traditional design motifs for a Holy Ark is the Tree of Life. This motif includes three branches echoing the form of the Hebrew letter “shin”, the first letter in the name of God (Shaddai). The “shin” is also the first letter of the prayer (the Shema) that is recited when the ark doors are open during the worship service.
The intricate mosaic artwork was created on 8 individual panels in the artist’s studio. The doors were designed and engineered to slide open from side to side and the hardware was hidden inside of the ark. The inside of the ark was upholstered with a platinum velvet fabric, and fitted with custom cherry wooden brackets to hold three Torah scrolls.
The donor recognition mosaic art , the " Wall of Blessings" is located in the entryway of the new space and includes the names of the generous donors who made the new building possible.