Let the Light Shine Through

Feb. 16-22, 2006
Let the Light Shine Through
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
St. Matthew’s Parishioner Designs Mosaic Glass Window

The entranceway of the Over the Rainbow Daycare/Pre-K Program, located on the lower level of St. Matthew’s School building in East Syracuse, has been considerably enhanced by the addition of a mosaic glass window. “It takes my breath away,” said director Molly Gray. “It’s exactly the right symbol for our program — to me, it’s ideal.”

St. Matthew’s parishioner and daycare aide Mary Pokrentowski created the rainbow-shaped mosaic glass window. The project took Pokrentowski a good three weeks to complete. She worked on the mural while the children were present in the building and they seemed to enjoy watching the process.

“The children said, ‘Look at the magic’ as they passed by it everyday while Mary was working on it,” said Gray. “From what I understand, the children went home and told their parents, ‘Wait until you see it.’” Pokrentowski’s goal was to complete the mosaic by Catholic Schools Week in January. During an Open House at the beginning of Catholic Schools Week, the parents were pleased when they saw the newly designed window. Pokrentowski’s three sons have all participated in the Over the Rainbow Program, so she took great pleasure in designing the mosaic window. “I’m thrilled that this is something that I could do,” said Pokrentowski.

Gray was also pleased with the project. “At the Open House, it was a joy to say, ‘Look at what one of the parents did,’” said Gray. The idea for the mosaic window emerged when Gray suggested the idea of designing a rainbow to Pokrentowski. “She was as enthused about it as I was,” said Gray. To create the mosaic, Pokrentowski glued over 500 pieces of translucent colored glass in the shape of a rainbow onto a large rectangular window. She used eight different colors of glass in the design. “The mosaic is really colorful when the sun shines through the window,” said Pokrentowski. “Because there is a light in the ceiling above the window, it is illuminated by the light. At night, you can see it from the main road. It’s beautiful.”

The artist became interested in working with stained glass after she took lessons at Brennan’s Stained Glass Studio in Syracuse. Pokrentowski has put what she learned to good use by designing angel and heart pins and stained glass crosses for confirmations, baptisms and first communions. She continues to take orders for pins and crosses. Pokrentowski takes a lot of pleasure from working with glass. “Glass is so beautiful,” she said. “You never know what you are going to come up with.”

St. Matthew’s Over the Rainbow Daycare/Pre-K is unique in that the staff of 14 has put a big emphasis on creative art in the curriculum. As the children create their artwork, they simultaneously learn how to handle materials and how to follow directions. “Every year we hold a beautiful art show in May, showcasing the children’s art pieces,” said Gray. “The show is open during the day for the school’s upper classes, and then in the evening, the show is open for the children’s family members. Then we hold an “artist’s reception” for them, which they really enjoy.”

The daycare/pre-k program has been in existence for 15 years and has grown into a dynamic organization. “The children have lots of fun learning as they travel from one play station to another,” said Gray. “With 76 children in our care, we’re on our toes every minute.”

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