NORTHAMPTON — In late July, Thornes Marketplace will refurbish and expand an historic window assemblage, installing six new stained-glass window panels designed by a local artist on the Chestnut Staircase behind Share coffee shop.
Heather McLean, owner of Dragonfly Stained Glass Studio in Easthampton, was commissioned to design the panels, which are part of an elaborate, two-and-a-half-story window grouping.
Each new arts-and-crafts-style panel created by McLean is identical, measuring four feet high by two feet wide. They combine bold orange squares with deep blue edging and long, vertical, pale-yellow highlights, and all six windows together will fill a space that is roughly eight feet high by six feet wide.
Above McLean’s stained-glass windows, three tiers of windows original to the building — one overarching transom window and two tiers of oblong windows — will be cleaned, painted, and reinstalled to further refresh the entire collection.
McLean’s panels replace three original stained-glass windows that could not be restored; they will be cleaned, refurbished, and hung in the building at a later date as an art sculpture, said Jon McGee, Thornes facilities manager.
Over the past 10 years, Thornes has taken on a series of major renovations to improve and enhance the eclectic shopping center, including the recreation by a Vermont artist of stained-glass window panels along the Grand Staircase a few years ago.
“We really liked the way it looked. We felt like we were adding to the historic authenticity of the building,” said McGee, noting that, when Thornes leaders got ready to refresh the Chestnut Staircase assembly, they preferred to work with a local artist.
Familiar with McLean and her work, Marketing Manager Jody Doele referred McLean to McGee and Richard Madowitz, Thornes owner and property manager.
Installation of all new window panels is expected to occur in late July and will not disrupt business. Shops will be open and accessible during normal business hours; visitors are encouraged to use the main staircase.