Staff Blogger: Molly Dorsey, Print/Visual Communications Intern

IMG_6579It’s been 17 years since the Rhein Center opened its doors to the art lovers of Lakeside. Around the same time, the Rev. Amy Shaw, then Director of the Rhein Center, asked Lakesider Jack Craig to teach a stained glass class, making him the first Rhein Center instructor. He has been teaching it ever since.

Jack and his wife, Diana, have been coming to Lakeside since 1988. They stay the entire summer and enjoy everything the community has to offer.

Although Diana has taken a few art classes, she prefers the lectures.

“That is one of the reasons why we love Lakeside,” Diana said. “We both are able to find something we enjoy here.”

Jack, originally from Kenmore, N.Y., got his artistic start in woodworking. While taking oil painting and drawing classes at a local school, Jack developed his creative abilities and challenged himself further by taking up stained glass.

Jack first learned stained glass at a studio in Berea, Ohio. He quickly realized that he enjoyed making stained glass windows more than any other type of work. When asked what he loves to design most in his artwork, he replied, “Hearts, I absolutely love creating hearts.”

Jack’s favorite window, proudly displayed on the couple’s back patio on Laurel Avenue, is a beautiful piece that has a green heart and a pink rose in the center. This particular window took Jack about eight hours to create.

Making a stained glass creation can take hours to weeks, according to Jack. It depends on how complicated the design is and how efficient you are at creating it.

IMG_6586Windows aren’t the only pieces that Jack creates. He has also designed and built centerpieces and hanging bird sun catchers.

Jack has donated 16 stained glass windows to the Rhein Center, all representing the arts. Before entering the building, there are two stained glass windows displayed on both sides of the front entrance.

Inside, you’ll also see his stained glass cardinal and an eagle. He’s not only created pieces for  the Rhein Center, but for the tower at “Rockledge” on the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street, as well as his own cottage.

The Rhein Center is one of Jack’s favorite places. He loves teaching classes there because he feels that it is extremely well-equipped for his stained glass classes.

“They have a nice selection of glass and good equipment, and you’re not going to find a stained glass class as cheap as the one here in Lakeside,” said Jack.

Other stained glass classes in the area can range from $150-$300, whereas Lakeside’s classes are only  $50, plus the Chautauqua Pass admission fee.

Jack has dedicated 17 years to the Rhein Center. His creativity, generosity and skill can be seen throughout the community.

It’s people like him that make Lakeside the unique and wonderful place that it is. Thank you for donating your time and breathtaking artwork to make Lakeside a little more beautiful, Jack.