Valerie O’Hara had the unique opportunity to be raised in a stained glass studio. From the age of 12, she apprenticed at the studio after school, learning from her parents who were both accomplished artists and renaissance individuals. Her mother, Norma Lee, sewed the costumes that were worn by the models, who posed for the figures in the windows. Her father took photographs of the costumed models, developed the film and printed the pictures in their home darkroom, before using them to draw the cartoons (full size drawings) for the windows. Everyone takes their turn as posing, employees, relatives and friends alike!

Aside from all of her education and training not available in today’s academic settings, Valerie graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1976. She majored in painting and minored in glass and woodworking through the School for American Craftsmen.

In addition to commissioned work, Valerie creates paintings and glass sculptures, many of which have been exhibited and won awards throughout North America. Her work has been featured in the following publications:

  • American Craft Magazine
  • Glass Magazine
  • Glass Studio Magazine
  • Lighting and Design Application Magazine
  • Rochester Magazine
  • Women’s Day Magazine

Valerie has taught and given presentations to many groups on the art, craft and history of stained glass, including a segment in the WXXI public television station’s series entitled “Crafts by Hand”, as well as:

  • The Glass Art Society
  • The Landmark Society of Western New York, from which she has won two awards:
    • A Special Achievement Award in 1998
    • and a Craftsperson of the Year Award in 2006
  • The Naples Mill School of Arts and Crafts
  • The Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen
  • The Strong Museum

Please contact us to schedule a presentation for your group.

Professional Affiliations

  • Preservation League of New York State
  • Landmark Society of western New York
  • Glass Art Society
  • Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (AIA/PIA)
  • The Association for Preservation Technology International
  • Partners for Sacred Places
  • Memorial Art Gallery – consultant for Tiffany Collection
  • The Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester