Tucked in a sunny corner of Paradise Valley is a stellar example of stained-glass art. In fact, one might argue that the beauty of the Kilgore Chapel’s windows eclipses all other cathedral glass.
Designed by noted NASA artist Robert McCall and his wife Louise for the Valley Presbyterian Church, the 35,000 piece mosaic fills a 350-degree space with an atmosphere of heavenly radiance. Dedicated in 1984, the eight encircling panels of this installation took three years to complete, and each 10 foot by 20-foot section weighs more than a ton.
The unique design harmonizes the gravity of religious devotion with scientific enlightenment using over 110 different colors of glass. As an official artist for NASA, McCall chronicled the United States space program for 35 years through his illustrations and promotional artwork. Probably even more well-known is his artwork for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and for the Star Trek movie franchise. He also created murals for the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Johnson Space Center, and Epcot before passing away in 2010.
Margaret Weitekamp, a curator at the Smithsonian, once said that he was famous for inspirational and imaginative work that got “all of the technical details right.” The Kilgore Chapel windows reflect the depth of McCall’s faith and imagination, creating an experience for all parishioners that is truly out of this world.