The largest James Hayes art glass work ever created now suspends from the rotunda of Hempstead Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Hope. “Visions of Harmony, Colors of Hope,” as it has been titled, is a custom-made 714-piece colorful art glass chandelier created by James Hayes. “It was a four-year process to decide exactly what type of art we wanted to add to Hempstead Hall and who we wanted the artist to be,” said Dolly Henley, Hempstead Hall Director. “In January, the selection committee decided that James was the man for the job and we commissioned him to create the art glass for us.” The art has been paid for by private donations to the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Art and Piano Fund.
James Hayes was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He owns and operates the James Hayes Art Glass Company in Pine Bluff. After receiving an art degree from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, in 1988, he 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 Washington.
Hayes has had numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. Some of his honors include an invitation from the White House to design a Christmas tree ornament, being on the cover of At Home in Arkansas Magazine, and being featured in Southern Living Magazine. James has created art glass for Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He has also been awarded the Hendrix College Odyssey Medal in Artistic Creativity.
“This art glass chandelier has been a joy to work on,” said Hayes. “The amount of glass pieces it consists of is quite impressive. It contains bubble shapes, teardrops, stretched twists, and stretched and curled twists which took ten days to make. Each piece is wired to a twelve-foot frame using aircraft wire. A few of the colors were chosen specifically. Watermelon green was chosen to portray Hempstead County, and red was chosen because it is the color of the University. I feel very fortunate and thankful to have been asked to create this piece of art, and I can’t think of a more fitting home than Hempstead Hall for the largest art glass chandelier I’ve ever created.”