Sacred Places Tour; Murals, Mosaics and Stained Glass

Click of images to enlarge. Independance Hall, Muslim Mural Lancaster Ave., Amish Farm Stand Powelton Village, MAP mural by Paul Santoleri.

Yesterday, gorgeous, mild, sunny: I visited two churches on a tour presented by Partners for Sacred Places and the Murals Arts Program. We left on a trolley from near Independence Hall, through Powelton Village, Walnut Hill, passing more than a dozen MAP murals.
Composite view showing organ, and down into sanctuary. On the right, stencil pattern.

Calvary Center for Culture and Community is located in the Calvary United Methodist Church at 48th and Baltimore, by architects Brown, Gillespie and Carrell 1905-1906. The Center is in the middle of an ambitious restoration process, already having rebuilt massive gable walls to save the 2 immense Tiffany windows.
The story of how the congregation is dealing with the challenges of maintaining this historic and deteriorating building, while strengthening the community, is well described by Rich Kirk.
The large mural on canvas is of the Sermon on the Mount, by PAFA graduate H. Hanley Parker. He painted other decorative elements in the Sanctuary and Chapel as well. There is a beautiful stained glass dome by Tiffany in the Chapel, detail shown, and a Brothers O'Dell organ.
detail of Tiffany Resurrection Windowcenter section of mural by H. Hanley Parker
Massive scagliola columns in need of repair, mural of Sermon on the Mount, detail of Tiffany Resurrection stained glass window and Trinity Angels dome.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church a couple of blocks away, is an astounding landmark, with its mulit-colored tiled dome and towers. Susan K. Weiler was our docent, describing the engineering challenges of restoring the dome, and showing her deep love for this beautiful building. Some of the problems in the dome are the consequences of a well-intentioned but ill-suited application of gunnite to the outer dome in the 1960s. This church has the 2nd largest organ in Philadelphia, the largest is the famous Wanamaker organ.

Guastovino tiles on interior ( and exterior ) of dome. "a technique for constructing robust, self-supporting arches and architectural vaults using interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar in a thin skin, with the tiles following the curve of the roof" (Susan mentioned that Guastovino used this technique in many other buildings, including the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. image from tanguero's flickr stream)Susan K. Weiler and elevation plan of dome.
link to wikipedia article on St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
link to wikipedia article on Guastovino tile.


Janvangogh said...

That tile work is gorgeous.

Carla said...

That Mural Arts Program is amazing. It reads as though they used artists and also art instructors with the children, but I could find nothing about the artist's participation, only their names on each project. Pretty amazing to those results with such a collaboritive venture.

Kim said...

Janet, yes it is.. hard to get a good photo of it without a tripod.

Carla, I recently bought a book about the program,(More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell ) and CAN'T find it! I know it describes the process in more detail. Time to clean my studio.

Lynne Rutter said...

great pictures kim!

Kim said...

thanks, Lynne, but didn't take your good advice about a gorilla pod yet.