This art has an edge
Event celebrates stained-glass artist.
When South Florida churches needed stained glass decades ago, one man knew better than anyone else how to make them standouts.
He knew because he already had designed stained glass in more than 700 churches worldwide.
Conrad Pickel, who spent the final years of his life residing in Boynton Beach, added flair to coastal communities using innovative stained-glass techniques.
On Saturday, Boynton Beach will celebrate the renowned stained glass artist by offering tours, presentations and exhibits.
The event is part of the city’s annual Conrad Pickel celebration, honoring the artist who died at age 88 in 1994.
The celebration begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m., with tours ending at 10:30 a.m. Tourgoers will visit some of Pickel’s most notable works in Boynton Beach, such as:
the stained-glass window at Boynton Memorial Park and Mausoleum, 1611 S. Seacrest Blvd.
the twin stained-glass windows at Ascension Lutheran Church, 2929 S. Seacrest Blvd.
the massive triangular stained-glass window at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 3300 Seacrest Blvd.
and the building Pickel once used as his own gallery, Gallery Fantasia at 1000 S. Federal Highway, which Pickel designed and built in1974.
Pickel, whowas born in Germany and started his stained glass career at the famed Mayer studio in Munich, was a visionary for his time, said Boynton Beach’s Public Art Manager Debby Coles-Dobay. . The artist created an outlet for himself in Boynton Beach when other artists of his time were opening galleries in big cities, she said.
“Hewanted to share his art with everybody,” she said. “It wasn’t just a gallery. Hewanted people to come in and experience and enjoy the art.”
Pickel created the largest stained glass window in theworld in 1969, using more than 22,000 square feet of faceted glass.
It is housed in the mausoleum in Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Ill.
Pickel moved to the United States in 1928, according to author Gene Moody, who recently wrote a pictorial biography about the artist.
Pickel and his wife moved to Vero Beach in 1955, Moody said, and later moved to Boynton Beach, when he opened Galleria Fantasia.
Moody’s pictorial biography, “A Tapestry in Stained Glass,” will be featured as one of three presentations at the Boynton Beach City Library after the historic bus tours.
Boynton Beach Historic Planner Warren Adams will give a presentation focusing on Pickel’s historic timeline and imprint, and Boynton Beach Historical Society historian Ginger Pedersen will discuss one of Pickel’s stained-glass windows in a West Palm Beach church.
Leslie Miller of Pickel Studios will also give a stained-glass demonstration.
To register for the bus tour, call 561-742-6010.
Conrad Pickel added flair to coastal communities using innovative stained-glass techniques.