University of Illinois: Cosmic Vision - CODAworx

University of Illinois: Cosmic Vision

Submitted by Cynthia Miller

Client: University of Illinois

Location: Champaign Urbana, IL, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team


Cynthia Miller

Fine Fusions


Cheryl Bicknell

University of Illinois


Narrow and tall! Celebrating a new wing: Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, sent out a national search for artwork that would be narrow, only 4 feet wide, and 18 feet tall, to be installed in a 3 story, glass enclosed staircase.

I was thrilled to see this call from my alma mater on CODAworx and joyfully applied. My work is glass kiln fired onto burnished copper; panels are easy to install and maintain, the colors are permanent and the “jewels” sparkle in direct light. Each 12″ x 15″ panel is mounted on a wood board and afixed to the wall with French cleats. Perfect for a public space.


Looking forward to the future of science, laboratory experimentation, advancement and education are themes of the Grainger College Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana.

I'm fascinated with the mystery and majesty of the images of outer space and found that the flexibility of configuring a composition of panels to accommodate the 4' by 18' space was possible.


The twelve judges affiliated with the University chose one of several pallette and shape combinations to fit their aesthetic idea. The colors of "Swan Nebula" were chosen.

We had several phone, email and Zoom meetings over the months. Cheryl Bicknell from the University, coordinated each step in the timing of the process, shipping and installation.

I was asked to come to the campus to supervise the installation of the 39 panels. There were two highly skilled professionals who just needed me to stay out of the way and not break anything! What a thrill to
watch it all come to life on those sparkling walls, and to see it from the outside the building at night, illuminated!