CONWAY, Ark. (Feb. 22, 2010) – Wanting to add a distinctive artistic splash to "The Burrow" inside the college’s new $26 million Student Life and Technology Center, Hendrix officials knew exactly who to call.
James Hayes of Pine Bluff, a 1988 graduate of Hendrix College and an award-winning art glass designer, created a unique lighted glass chandelier that hangs above one of the most popular student gathering locations on the campus. Hayes, who describes his glass designs as "playful, adventurous, colorful and distinctive," created the design specifically for his alma mater.
"The Burrow" is the student lounge area inside the Student Life and Technology Center that has numerous amenities enjoyed by students, from ping pong tables to comfortable seating to a piano. But nearing the end of its construction last month, the area seemed to lack a Hendrix flair.
When she heard there was a need for a distinctive art element in the room, Pamela Owen, Hendrix’s Associate Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Relations, immediately thought of Hayes, who operates the James Hayes Art Glass Company in Pine Bluff.
Hayes created the sculpture with Hendrix in mind, utilizing the college’s school color of orange as the base. However, he also utilized several different colors to reflect the diversity and vibrant nature of the College, according to Karla Carney-Hall, Hendrix’s Vice President for Student Affairs.
Hayes personally installed the chandelier one piece at a time. It took him approximately four hours to construct the 220-piece chandelier, a project he spent four days sculpting.
The design was an immediate hit with Hendrix students.
"Student comments have been very positive, and students have compared it to the recent movie images of Alice in Wonderland, Disney movies, and other fun-filled images that come to mind," Carney-Hall said. "The most common phrase around the sculpture has been that it just feels like Hendrix."
After receiving an art degree from Hendrix, Hayes searched for a new medium to express his artistic talent. Three months later he discovered glassblowing at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School. He has studied glassblowing in Murano, Italy; Columbus, Ohio; and the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, Wash. James has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the U.S. Some of his honors include an invitation from the White House to design a Christmas tree ornament and receiving the 2006-07 Hendrix Odyssey Medal for Artistic Creativity. He has won the best of media at the Shreveport, La., Red River Revel Arts Festival, and best of show at Riverfest in Little Rock.
His work has attracted media attention, including being being featured in the High Profile section in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and in KHTV (CBS) Channel 11's "Everyone has a Story" segment.
Hayes has been on the cover of At Home In Arkansas magazine and featured in Southern Living magazine.
His works are available at the Sara Howell Art Gallery in Jonesboro, Gallery Central in Hot Springs, Gallery 26 in Little Rock, Foster Cochran's in Little Rock, Remy Fine Art in Fort Smith, B LA Rue in Bentonville, Fifth Season in Little Rock, Kenneth Edwards Fine Jewelers in Little Rock, Red Door Gallery in North Little Rock, Shepherds Gifts & Blooms in Pine Bluff, Arkansas Arts Center In Little Rock, The Chapel House in Florissant, Mo., and Robert's in Houston, Texas.
Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for 2010 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 44 "Best Buy" colleges by the 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.