The Finishing Touch for The Sandi Brune Art Center Is a Masterpiece in Glass

“It speaks to who Sandi was as a person. Not only the people here but the space conveys who she was—a reflection and continuation of her memory.”— Ray Ben Moszkowicz

Sandi Brune, HPA’s Art and Music teacher for 33 years,
in front of hand-painted classroom display

By Norma Richman

After an extensive renovation of High Point Academy’s art room, complete with new work tables, a large ceramic kiln, and an even larger flatbed printing press, there was only one thing wanting: a way to honor long-time art teacher Sandi Brune that befits her legacy and her undeniable impact on her students. Glass artist Ray Ben Moszkowicz was tapped to come up with the solution—two stained glass windows reflecting both sunlight and the spirit of Sandi Brune.

Stained Glass Process from Sketch to Finished Product:

It took a special HPA family connection to bring the whole project to fruition. Moszkowicz explained that after learning High Point was looking for a glass artist, his daughter Rachael, the school’s first-grade assistant teacher, suggested that the school contact him, and the plan was set in motion.

 “After talking to art teacher Zack Davis and learning about the wonderful legacy of Sandi Brune, I supplied the proposal for the work. It was accepted, and I proceeded to create concept drawings for the glass work.” He continued: “Zack shared with me what a warm and very colorful person Sandi was and how much she was loved by the students at High Point. Zack also mentioned the artist Hundertwasser, whose work is very colorful and amorphic—like Sandi’s personality. I agreed that his work could be used as the initial inspiration and starting point.  The results are the two windows in the new and improved Art Center space.”

Months later the dedication was held outside the art room, with a perfect view of the new Sandi Brune Art Center windows overhead. Sandi’s son Chris Brune (class of ‘89) and his family came up from Orange County, and Erin Brune Cooper (class of ‘97) made the long trek from Australia with her husband and sons. The lunch area—now dubbed the “Heart of the Campus”—was teeming with former students and their parents and retired teachers, as well, as they all looked upward to the new addition: a gleaming pair of stained glass windows gracing the entry to the art room.

At the April 22nd reception, Moszkowicz marveled at the joy he saw all around him and how fitting his final design turned out to be: “It speaks to who Sandi was as a person. Not only the people here but the space convey who she was—a reflection and continuation of her memory. And I think that’s true in the windows as well. It was all about her. She was the impetus, the inspiration, even down to the use of color. They happen to be very colorful windows; the color was a little bit different from the way I normally work, but the outcome was perfect for the finished project.”

Moszkowicz pointed to the magical emerald-colored glass disc in the lower right corner of the windows. It’s not like the other pieces of glass—not just because its character is so different from the angular sections, not because it is hand-spun rather than cut glass, but because it represents something special. He explained that he had kept that piece in his studio for over thirty years. It was time to put it to meaningful use. Sandi’s tenure at High Point also spanned over thirty years as the music and art teacher, and so it was fitting to give this piece a place to live where all could see it.

The afternoon turned out be a very special reunion of family and friends. Sandi’s husband Allen and sister Debbie Morris toured the new art classroom where the walls were covered in stunning student work representing all grades. Erin Brune Cooper reflected on the day: “My mother’s happy place was here at High Point with her students, parent aids, and fellow faculty members. She put her heart and soul into developing students’ appreciation of art and music, injecting fun, joy, and color into everything she could. My family and I are incredibly honored to have her memory immortalized in the beautiful new art center by the inspired art of Ray Moszkowicz. We are so pleased that High Point values the arts as much as she did and know that students and families can enjoy the space for many years to come under the profound guidance of Mr. Davis. A heartfelt THANK YOU from the Brune family.”

Chris Brune added, “As I think about the stained glass, it is a mosaic of colors, and that is what my mother was . . . a mosaic of colors in both her personality and her attire. She loved HPA and she loved teaching kids, which showed through the vitality she brought to work every day.”

The newest honorary member of the High Pointfamily, RayMoszkowicz, has studied at the famed Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle and at Art Center School of Design in Pasadena. He is a freelance artist, a glass working instructor at the college level, and currently teaches both beginning and advanced level art classes at Alfred B. Nobel Charter Middle School in Northridge, CA. His contribution to the Sandi Brune Art Center has become part of the legacy of High Point Academy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s