Holyoke Youth Find Inspiration in City Hall Stained Glass

Gateway City Arts (GCA) in collaboration with the Holyoke Restoration Guild, VK Restoration and Holyoke Boys and Girls Club is currently running an apprenticeship program focused on the applied Arts of historic restoration. 

Weekly, a handful of students from the Holyoke Boys & Girls club gather at GCA to work on projects that range from basic house painting, faux finishing and marbling to wood graining, stencil design, gold leafing, murals, and sculpting/casting 3D decorative elements.  Students have the unique opportunity to be trained in the tried and true techniques as well as learning insider tricks of the trade through direct interaction and hands on experience with a Master Restoration Artists. During workshop time, the history, techniques, materials and tools are discussed; however, students also have free time to explore their own ideas and implement newly acquired knowledge on their own projects.

The master, Vitek Kruta, is a professional artist, muralist, art restorer, designer and teacher. His work has been featured in exhibitions in former Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, United States and Canada.  Mr. Kruta was trained in the old-world techniques of Fine and Decorative Arts in the Czech Republic and Germany, where he attended school and restored paintings, murals and frescoes as well as painting furniture in historical buildings, castles and churches before coming to the United States in 1991.

Inspired by his restoration experience and historic, artistic sensibility – Mr. Kruta has also developed unique style in which he has created hundreds of distinct and original paintings, which hang in galleries and art shows throughout the country.

One current project with the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club involves the decorative design of the stained glass windows in the auditorium on the second floor at Holyoke City Hall.  Using close up photographs that examine the details of the windows, Kruta’s apprentices have enlarged those details in painted murals. 

The condition of all thirteen windows is extremely poor. All of the windows are in danger of failing, particularly in high winds. Previous restoration efforts have done more to hurt the windows than to help them. This project is part of the effort to educate the public about the importance of protecting our cultural heritage and the effort to raise the $450K necessary for proper restoration and future protection of the windows.

“Getting the entire community involved is the best way to ensure these treasures aren’t lost to the ages”, said Kruta. “ We are starting with the kids.”

For more on how you can help the effort to save the Holyoke City Hall Stained Glass Windows – please visit www.facebook.com/savethestainedglasswindows


About Gateway City Arts:

Gateway City Arts is an art center with workspace, events and educational programs designed to promote creativity in different areas from the casual creator to the professional artist.  Located in the heart of the Arts and Innovation district in Holyoke, Massachusetts – its mission is to provide multidisciplinary top quality art opportunities while promoting community. For more information please visit www.gatewaycityarts.com

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