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New Apodaca art installation showcases the talents of renowned glass artists

By Camryn Eaton

On Aug. 18, Western Carolina University welcomed a new sculpture to the Apodaca Science Building.

The art installation, a breathtaking piece titled “Illuminated Sphere,” was brought to life by artists John Littleton and Kate Vogel. Littleton and Vogel are from Bakersville and have collaborated for more than 40 years on cast and blown glass artworks.

illuminated sphere

Illuminated Sphere

The installation was funded by WCU’s allocation of $250,000 to commission works of art that contribute to the visual interest of the Apodaca Science Building. The WCU Fine Art Museum spearheaded the initiative for bringing public art to the campus. WCU’s Public Art Program aims to beautify shared spaces on campus for the enjoyment of the greater WCU community.

In Littleton and Vogels’ most recent pieces of art, they look to incorporate motion and enable the viewer to interact with the piece of art. With its’ steel base, “Illuminated Sphere” elevates a set of five concentric glass spheres suspended in gimbaled steel rings. Upon first glance, the sculpture may appear static, however, a handle is affixed to the glass to put the golden sphere in motion.

“Watching the reactions and response to the piece was very satisfying,” Vogel said. “We hope the sculpture will spark conversations among the staff, students and visitors to the Apodaca Science Building for decades to come.”

“Illuminated Sphere” joins the Apodaca Science Building’s collection of works from artists including Joel Queen and Digali’l Native American Student Organization, Martha Neaves, Janis Miltenberger and Amber Rousseau. Forthcoming installations planned through 2023 will feature the talents of Hoss Haley and Joshua Adams, among others.

For more information about the artists and to view other works, visit

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