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Art as inspiration may provide a path for creative and critical thinking as well as ignite the senses. As beautiful as the renovated Kaplan Feldman Complex is, new works of art have been added, thanks to the generosity of Michael Staenberg, to the interior and exterior to enhance the environment and remind us of our vibrant and flourishing Jewish community.

Mark Salsbury of Third Degree Glass in St. Louis recently installed a colorful large-scale glass mobile that magically plays with the light of the atrium lobby. Salsbury utilizes kiln-formed glass to convey a balance between complex patterns and simple forms.

The abundant natural light and clean aesthetic served as an inspiration for the concept and design, which added an additional layer of visual interest. Salsbury states, “This sculpture is a tribute to Federation’s commitment to build on the successes of the past and strive for a better future.”

On the exterior of the conference room is LIFT #2 and at the front is the larger recently-sited sculpture LIFT #3. Sculptor Larry Roots believes that in order for the works to be universal and enduring, they should be appreciated from all angles, up close and afar, throughout varying seasons as well as throughout the day when light and shadow change the very nature of the work itself.

As the title implies and as stated by the artist, he hopes to create “an opportunity for humanity to overcome Earth’s gravity and provide a feeling of the freedom of flight, which underlies the inspiration for these works.”

For those who aspire to fly above it all, they may in time be swept up both literally and metaphorically as “to be lifted,” Roots says, by these majestic sculptures, one with 13-foot wingspans and reaching a height of 14 feet.

In the spirit of Federation, Michael Staenberg hopes to add to the meaning, sense of belonging, and purpose by continually lifting up our Jewish community with the varied programs offered through Federation.

“When we place art into our world, we choose not only to beautify but to inspire,” Staenberg says.