Utah Valley University and Utah Education Network 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.