Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Stained glass artwork adorns new Largo Community Center

LARGO —When the city's new community center opens in early January, visitors may be impressed by its towering architecture, amenities and green-building credibility.

But one addition to the structure — a part that faced its share of debate when commissioners approved it back in February — will perhaps go down as one of its most memorable features.

The art.

Outside the main entrance and running along the entire wall, then continuing inside the entrance hall is a mosaic unlike any other public installation in the city.

Entitled The Woodlands by artists Bob and Cindy Kessler, of Loveland, Ohio, the mosaic is a blast of shape and color that leaps from the concrete in which it is embedded.

Construction of the art — which took about six months and $90,000 to complete — concluded Monday.

When Cindy Kessler, who designed the project, looked at the wall, she saw something that few other than the architect, Jason Jenson, may have noticed at first glance.

The windows that dot the wall high above the sidewalk are tinted green — a canopy. Strips of concrete that run below each window, the trunks.

"But the trees stand alone in this forest," Kessler said.

So she made her abstract mosaic represent the understory.

"To add a softness to the trees," she said.

That idea won over a selection committee, and encouraged commissioners to okay the project.

Next came the manufacture of the mosaic — composed of thousands shards of multicolored glass, hand-selected for shape and hue.

Bob Kessler, who installed the panels over the weekend, said he and his wife selected colored glass from manufacturers across the country, then smashed them — by hammer, by dropping — to get the best composition of shapes.

The glass was then put into a rock tumbler to smooth the edges.

"We want people to touch it," Bob Kessler said.

Cindy Kessler sorted through the thousands of shards, arranging them like puzzle pieces, until she had the right amount to create a cascade of color.

The pieces were affixed to panels, then trucked nearly 1,000 miles from Ohio to Largo.

Bob Kessler said many buildings constructed recently lack souls, the human touch. When cities like Largo spend money on art, it elevates the building from a mere structure to a thing that reaches out to visitors.

"Artwork humanizes the building environment," he said.

The building is not yet open, but Commissioner Woody Brown swung by Monday and caught a peek.

"It look great from what I saw," Brown said. "It looked cool."

Dominick Tao can be reached at or (727) 580-2951.

Stained glass artwork adorns new Largo Community Center 10/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What to watch this weekend: Grateful Dead documentary, 'House of Cards' returns Tuesday


    The Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Season 5 of House of Cards on Netflix.
  2. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  3. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.
  4. A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  5. Gradebook podcast: Budgets, pre-k, achievement gap and more


    As classes let out across Florida, school district leaders continue to analyze how they're going to balance their budgets given the constraints proposed by state lawmakers.  Reporter Jeff Solochek and editor Tom Tobin discuss the concerns district finance officials are raising as they look at the budget while …