When the Paul Sawyier Public Library moved from the Old Federal Building into its new facility in 2006, it was only natural that the new building include art. After all, it is named for one of Kentucky’s most renowned artists, impressionist painter, Paul Sawyier. Laura Mentor, who created the stained glass windows for the library, did not know much about Paul Sawyier, but in researching his life and work, she was struck by his love of Kentucky’s natural beauty, a love she shares. Mentor describes the matching stained glass windows in the reading section downstairs as a “kaleidoscopic image of elements of Kentucky trees,” one focused on blossoms and spring leaves while the other features fall foliage, seeds, cones, and nuts. For the semi-circular window in the children’s section, she chose the branches and leaves of Kentucky’s state tree, the tulip poplar, and animated them with birds, butterflies and insects.
The interior of the children’s section is enlivened by additional art, long narrow panels of colorful batik cloths created by Frankfort artist, Doris Thurber. Thurber’s theme is exploring the arts, and the panels represent music, dance, visual art, and literary arts. The fifth panel depicts the process of creating batik, because it seemed important to Thurber to include this educational component. Thurber sees this art as her legacy, her own colorful footprint in the world.