Stephen Knapp has collaborated with architects and designers for over forty years and has written and lectured on the collaborative process, art and architecture and architectural glass art. He is the author of The Art of Glass, featuring the world’s top architectural glass artists. His large scale public lightpaintings have all been in response to a specific location and  a dialogue with the clients and architects.

“First Symphony”, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana light, glass, stainless steel 23’ x 40’ x 1’

The School of Music at Ball State has long been cited for innovative programs, new music activities and varied performance programs and national leadership in music education. The architect wanted a signature piece of public art, visible through the glass façade as well as the focus of concertgoers attention within the foyer itself. “First Symphony” was created in response to those criteria. Music and movement are very much a part of its orchestration. By reflecting and refracting, light the entire 23’ x 40’ wall is filled with a symphony of color, using only eight 75W low voltage lights.


“Seven Muses”, The Charles W. Eisemann Center, Richardson, Texas light, glass, stainless steel 31’ x 95’ x 1’

The Grand Foyer of the Eisemann Center featured a large blank wall and the initial request was for a lightpainting to the right of the opening in the wall. Stephen’s response was to suggest instead that he create a piece that would “dance” across the entire wall. At night the reflections in the glass create a twin lightpainting, “dancing” in space outside the building. It has become the signature piece of The Eisemann Center. In keeping with the Eisemann Center’s commitment to a green building, twenty 500W wall washer fixtures were removed, replaced by only seven 75W low voltage fixtures.



“Luminous Affirmations”, City Hall, Tampa, Florida light, glass, stainless steel 80’ x 60’ x 20”

This project was sponsored by the City of Tampa, Florida as the first piece of what has become a very popular “Lights on Tampa” Program. Using the blank wall of City Hall as a backdrop, this 80’ x 60’ lightpainting uses specially designed 300W ceramic metal halide fixtures. A signature public art installation for the City of Tampa it is often featured in overviews of the city in sporting events and other televised events.




“The Definition of Possible”, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts light, glass stainless steel 16’ x 37’ x 1’

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a leading engineering school, dedicated to innovation, creativity and expanding the bounds of traditional engineering schools. “The Definition of Possible” was commissioned to showcase the marriage of art, technology, science and innovation. Extensive meetings were held and many campus walks were taken to find the right location on campus. The Gordon Library presented a perfect canvas – a 16’ x 37’ blank wall of precast concrete. Using just two 75W fixtures the entire wall is filled with light, and during the day there is an ever changing movement of color, reminding students, faculty and visitors of the importance of viewing the world from different perspectives and of what can be accomplished by an interdisciplinary approach. 



“Structure,Space and Time”, Linus Pauling Science Center, Oregon State University, Corvalis, Oregon light, glass stainless steel four locations, various sizes 

Stephen Knapp’s lightpaintings grew out of the same sort of interdisciplinary study that served as the basis of much of Linus Pauling’s work. Working with the architect four locations were identified, including a seasonal wall that gets sunlight twice a year and is only illuminated by daylight, making it a discovery waiting to happen. Conceptually, one lightpainting represents structure and form, another represents crystallography, and the installation wall at the Linus Pauling Institute is about the scientific process, while the seasonal piece is about discovery, possibility and that which is not yet known. A time lapse of the seasonal piece can be seen in the videos section.



“Transformation”,  Constitution Center, Washington, D.C. light, glass, stainless steel, 14’ x 85’ x 65’

“Transformation” runs along a 12’ x 37’ wall, works its way across the ceiling, turns a corner and then goes through a glass wall into the entrance of a Metro stop, where it again passes from a wall to a ceiling. Notice that where the light ends on the long wall it bends back up the other side, something that light cannot do.





“Stories from Light”,  Women and Babies Hospital, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Suspended  light sculpture light, glass, stainless steel, stainless cables 65” x 26’ x 26’

Stephen was initially asked to create a stained glass ceiling for this rotunda but proposed a piece in this new medium he was developing – lightpainting. Rainbows are often associated with fertility and birth. The series of lights skimming across the glass in the ceiling fills it with colored light, while ten figures of stainless steel and dichroic glass descend from the ceiling to populate the earth. The title “Stories from Light” comes from the concept of having a storyteller imagine a new story about the work and then ultimately creating a book to give to families of newborns at the hospital.



“Masked Illusions”,  Riverside Theater, Vero Beach, Florida light, glass, stainless steel 24’ x 64’ x 1’

Theater is about illusion, about actors who put on “masks”, alternate personalities, coming together to create something different. Five groupings of glass and light are grouped here to represent actors on the stage, working their magic and illusions, a fitting setting for gathering.  





“Trailing Light”, Oasis of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines light, glass, stainless steel 35’ x 50’ x 12”

In this outdoor ceiling area “Trailing Light” represents the night sky that moves and changes with a ship crossing the sea. The fixtures were specially treated for a salt water environment.