Commissioning a Window

As a stained glass window is planned, designed and built, the committee, builder or individual managing the process goes through 4 main phases: Planning for the windows, choosing an artist, design, fabrication and installation.


This is a time to the people involved to gather information, get organized and establish time lines and milestones for the process. They can begin to discuss and think about what kind of window is desired, the budget, resources that are available and any limitations that may apply. They can also begin to plan the overall process that will be followed, including what method will be used to identify and evaluate the artist in the selecting phase. By the end of this phase, work responsibilities should be clear, and a budget and preliminary schedule established.


The process of choosing an Artist/Studio can go in different directions, depending on the plans made in the first phase. There may be a series of studio presentations, or an open competition can be held. A competition begins with an invitation to stained glass artist to send slides of previous work. The field is narrowed down to two to five artists, who are paid to produce designs for the windows. They can then begin to make arrangements with the artist of their choice for finalization of the design, contracts and schedules.


In this phase the the task of reviewing and approving the final design is done and energy begins to shift to managing the rest of the process. If not already done, funds will be needed to construct and install the windows. Some projects begin with money in hand; others may find it helpful to have the final designs for the fund raising. This approach may mean that there is significant lag time between the completion of the design and its fabrication.


In the fourth phase, the contractor, site supervisor and artist set schedules for delivery, scaffold arrangements and installation of the work. The committee, individual or group can then begin planning for the installation and dedication ceremony, if one is to take place.


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