By Annie Rhoades
Many Ole Miss alumni have admired the beauty and intricacy of the stained glass windows in Ventress Hall and The Inn at Ole Miss, but one alumna in particular has a hand in creating the captivating artwork.
Lacy Barger (BA 07), glass cutter with Pearl River Glass Studio in Jackson will soon begin work on a glass transom for The Inn at Ole Miss depicting Barnard Observatory.
The Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Past President’s Spouses Club is working to raise $15,000 for the new stained glass transom window depicting Barnard Observatory that will join depictions of the Grove, the Lyceum, Ventress Hall and Triplett Alumni Center in The Inn at Ole Miss lobby.
“The window we’re doing of Barnard Observatory is in the works but hasn’t made it to my hands yet,” said Barger. “The ones in Ventress Hall have been restored by Pearl River.”
A native of Greenwood, Barger knew from an early age that she was destined to be an artist.
“My mother is an artist, so I grew up around painting,” said Barger. “There was a small closet underneath the stairwell that my parents let me go in and draw all over the walls. I would spend hours in there making stuff as a small child. In a way I feel like that was my first studio.”
However, when Barger enrolled at Ole Miss in the fall of 2003 she had her eye on a career in nursing.
“My first year at Ole Miss I was trying to become a nurse because in my mind I thought nurses help people, and I want to help people,” said Barger. “But God had different plans for me. I feel like He brought me back to art and made me realize there’s just as many opportunities to offer yourself to other people through artwork.”
Barger quickly changed her focus to art and received her undergraduate degree in 2007.
After a brief break from school to work on her portfolio, Barger enrolled in Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to pursue a master of fine arts.
“I received my master of fine arts at SCAD with an emphasis in painting,” said Barger. “I really learned the ins and outs of making paintings. That kind of knowledge I gained from Ole Miss and SCAD helped me get my job at Pearl River Glass Studio.”
After receiving her MFA in 2010, Barger taught college courses in painting and art appreciation at Hinds Community College and Mississippi College while also working part-time at Pearl River.
“I was learning the ropes and trying to learn a new medium, which was glass,” said Barger. “It definitely is a unique job. That’s why I got my masters in painting so I could learn the conceptual ideas behind painting.”
Working for Pearl River Glass Studio full-time since January 2013, Barger’s position as glass cutter involves a lengthy process comprised of a team that takes an artistic vision for each window from conception to creation.
“I receive a design sketch from the designers and it’s up to me to interpret the drawing and actually make it come into being by selecting glass,” said Barger. “I really use my painting knowledge while I pick out the different glasses. I feel artistic freedom in that one person has the initial design concept and then it’s passed on to me. A lot of things don’t get translated because there are two different people with different visions involved, so it kind of gives me room to step in and add my creative input.”
While Barger is proud of her accomplishments, she knows none of it would have been possible without the help of Ole Miss faculty.
“One of my favorite teachers at Ole Miss, Carlyle Wolfe (BFA 00), really guided me in the right direction and helped me prepare my portfolio for graduate school,” said Barger. “She was a big influence on me as well as Philip Jackson, associate professor of art, painting and drawing.”
Barger plans to continue honing her painting skills through paint commissions, exhibits and glass cutting with Pearl River Glass Studio.
“I never in a million years thought I’d be glass cutting, but it really makes sense,” said Barger. “I like to use my hands and be part of the creative process team. I do foresee myself making art in the future, whether it’s with glass or painting.”
Barnard Observatory Transom Artwork, Pearl River Glass Studio
Donations for the transom may be made to:
Ole Miss Alumni Association Window Fund, P.O. Box 1848, Oxford, MS 38677
Donations are tax deductible