This story appeared in the May issue of the PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door monthly? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!
A large colorful butterfly window in a church? A window called “Marionette without Strings”? Joyous stained glass windows, many designed by two local artists, enliven the four churches selected for the PRC’s Stained Glass Art in Sacred Places Tour on May 18 in Baton Rouge.
St. George Catholic Church, dedicated in 2017, welcomes worshipers to a sanctuary that seats 1,200 under a soaring ceiling supported by massive wooden trusses. The church features three large round windows with vivid, swirling colors and a huge depiction of the Paschal Lamb, all designed by the Stephen Wilson Stained Glass studio of Baton Rouge. Other windows are studies in transparency, exploring the effects of textures and forms, especially circles. Wilson, who will be the presenter at St. George Church, also designed the six-floor mosaics in the sanctuary and the adjoining chapel.
First Presbyterian Church has a long, prominent history in the city. Founded in 1827, its sprawling building occupies a full block near the heart of town. The spacious sanctuary, dating to 1926, is surrounded by calm, pastel glass that continues to the balcony and culminates in lavishly decorated surrounds. Behind the choir is a broad Ascension window described at the time as “of the highest quality of modern stained glass.” The 1987 Dunham Chapel, designed by noted architect A. Hays Town, evokes a medieval atmosphere, with depictions of the life of Christ by Whipple Stained Glass of Exeter, England.
A third set of windows at First Presbyterian Church was designed by Stephen Wilson, who will explain these abstract pieces of glass art. The windows line a breezeway that offers a view onto the new courtyard/amphitheater. Each incorporates German amber glass from earlier windows, along with traditional religious shapes and “found” objects.
At Trinity Episcopal Church, the tour will enjoy yet another style of glass: dalle de verre or chunk glass. Made of thick, brightly colored pieces of glass that are faceted and set in a concrete, these windows sparkle and bring smiles. Presenting familiar Old and New Testament scenes, they are the products of a French studio and were installed in the 1960s. Byzantine-style art work by a parishioner adorns the two altars, and the needlepoint kneelers are not to be missed.
Baton Rouge museum director and artist Adalie P. Brent designed the cheerful windows at St. Paul Lutheran Church, dedicated in 1976. Principally colorful scenes of nature, such as flowers and a butterfly, the windows acquire more meaning as the viewer identifies the many symbols of church history and theology that the artist has hidden in the deceptively simple windows.
Space is limited for the tour and advance registration is required. Learn more & get your tickets here.
May 18, 9 AM – 5 PM • Tour bus departs from Lakeside Shopping Center, Metairie
Tour four churches in Baton Rouge filled with beautiful stained glass art. Lunch will be included, and seating is limited. Learn more & get tickets!