‘Canyon Depth’ shines as latest example of public fine art

glass sculpture

Northern Arizona University’s new public fine art is a kiln-fired glasswork inspired by the Grand Canyon.

Canyon Depth, a six-foot high and four-foot wide, 220-pound glass panel simulates the natural light shimmering off the river and canyon walls. Located at the top of the south stairs in NAU’s Ardrey Memorial Auditorium, the red, orange, yellow, brown and blue glass artwork gleams from the sunlight.

“I tried to make the canyon appear to be made of glass,” said artist Kevin Ragaller, inspired by his environment and guided by the “fluidity and sheer brilliance of hot glass.”

Kiln glass is the process of loading cold glass into a kiln and using heat to manipulate the glass with molds or dams. Ragaller has worked with glass for 40 years, including with the more well-known pipe-blowing process.

After two years of planning, creating and very careful handling, Canyon Depth was unveiled recently in the auditorium lobby. It was commissioned by the NAU College of Arts and Letters and made possible with community support.

Ragaller is a graduate of the glass emersion program at Penland School of Arts. He studied art at NAU from 1974-1977 and earned a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in glass from California State University at Chico.