Flagler Artists: The stained glass art of Dr. Lee Richards

Walking into the home of Lee Richards, Ph.D., one is awash with a rainbow of light. A scarlet macaw about to take flight off a jungle branch. A pod of dolphins out-swimming an oncoming wave. A pair of manatees serenely floating towards a turtle on the ocean floor. A bright blue peacock surrounded by pink flowers, to name a few original pieces that adorn Dr. Richards’s home. And every one of them has received an award.
Approximately forty years ago, Dr. Richards attended his first stained glass class, after being told he needed a hobby. During that first class, he discovered he had a proclivity for it. “Stained glass is the perfect art medium because it blends creativity and artistic ability with engineering,” he says. The second project he ever did was a floral lamp he keeps in his living room.
At that point, he had been running his own architectural firm in Maryland. And after working there for twenty years, Dr. Richards returned to academia. He was a chief facility officer for Morgan State University in Maryland, University of Alaska, Embry Riddle, as well as Tulane University in Louisiana.
Twelve years ago, he retired and moved to Palm Coast and more fully embraced his choice of medium.
Of the multiple art associations found in Flagler County, Dr. Richards opted to produce pieces for the Flagler County Art League. Each piece followed the league’s theme that month. He was the only artist that worked in stained glass. The league, sadly, did not recover after COVID, but Dr. Richards continued producing his pieces. Working entirely out of a small studio room at the back of his house, almost the size of a closet. It is from this humble workstation; he received the aforementioned accolades and articles written about him. One can find them in national magazines like Glass Art magazine and the Stained Glass Association of America.
He continues to take commissions, often having a few lined up. But the pieces take time. Unfortunately, he cannot make it his sole source of income. Dr. Richards works full time for Flagler County and completes his pieces during off hours and on weekends.
Each of his pieces he prices at a few hundred dollars, and is well below their true cost, considering labor and the cost of equipment. A major factor here is job satisfaction. Dr. Richards wants his art to be more affordable so more people can enjoy it. It is this same satisfaction that keeps him working for the county. Some areas experience regular flooding; estimated 130 homes affected by the last two storms.
And through Dr. Richards’s work, Flagler has gained approximately $6 million in grant money to help our neighbors.
A more recent labor being done for his neighbors is also the biggest commission he has ever taken on. A new church is being built off the corner of Matanzas and Belle Terre, near the Dollar General on your way to i95. This church approached Dr. Richards to produce a massive stained glass window for all parishioners to enjoy.
Dr. Richards is the idea of a professional artist. Using his engineering skills such as precision and attention to detail, his art speaks for themselves. Primarily working in landscapes and the themes Florida and never in the abstract, Dr. Richards takes great time and care into the perfection of each piece.
You can find Dr. Richards’s catalogue on his website. And pay attention to any announcements coming from the Methodist Church off the corner of Mantazas and Belle Terre. See for yourself just how much of a talent Palm Coast’s Dr. Richards is.