Cape May Stained Glass Artist
Cape May stained glass window artist Christopher Michalek knows all about fire department dedication. He lost two firefighter uncles in the same Camden New Jersey Fire in the mid-1970’s. When commissioned by Ben Miller to create stained glass for the local Cape May Fire Department he got emotional. “The first piece of stained glass I sold was to a Lower Township Fireman,” Michalek said. “It makes me very emotional to think this fire house will hang my art.”
Ben Miller, author, local historian and MAC exhibit curator, arranged with the locally based stained glass artist, Christopher Michalek for a unique stained-glass window. The window depicts the Cape May Fire Department logo and, according to Miller, it “honors the legacy of the Cape May Fire Department and all the brave professionals and volunteers who have dedicated their lives to protecting us over the years.”
The window was presented to the City of Cape May and its Fire Department on Thursday, July 13 at 9:00 am at the Fire House. Receiving the window on behalf of the Fire Department, Chief Coulter remarked,” we appreciate the community support more than you know.” “It really keeps us going,” Counter continued.
Miller, who curated the Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities exhibit, “Cape May Ablaze,” said, “My goal is to honor all three of Cape May’s first-responder groups over the next few years, with the beach patrol next, and then the police department.” “They’re the heroes that work in the background, dedicating their lives so that the rest of us can enjoy our own in safety and with security.” he said.
Recalling Cape May Fires
Miller recounted Cape May fires of the past such as the Windsor Hotel fire and more recently the fire at the Bedford Inn. Michalek’s stained glass will hang in fire department’s museum building on Washington Street.
Michalek who also works as a line cook at the Bella Vida restaurant in West Cape May, was self-taught as an artist, working first with porcelain. Michalek also exhibits his work at the Cape May Artist Cooperative gallery has created work for private homes.
The dedication of the stained glass was attended by the Mayor, council members and the city manager.” At the recent town hall meeting we honored our volunteer firefighters,” Mayor Clarence Lear said. “For Ben Miller to step up and organize this donation was great to see.”