For the past two years, I’ve been thinking a lot about churches and how they fit into the post-industrial landscape of American cities. I spent 2014 working at one art center in an abandoned church, Grand Street Community Arts in Albany’s old St. Anthony’s (RC) Church. I’ve now joined the Board there, and keep thinking that it would be wonderful if other art centers in former churches could get together and talk about the unique challenges that we face with adapting these buildings. In 2013, there was an excellent one-day panel organized by the Historic Albany Foundation and the Troy Architecture Project called Everyone’s Architecture. I keep thinking that what we need is something more regular, ongoing… a meetup! Like a quarterly conference call or Google Hangout, with a loose agenda that spills out from the check-in. What’s going on? Who had a flood? Who got a stained glass window repaired? Who hosted a really amazing exhibition or performance? I’ve been calling it Post Ecclesiam (After Church.) Who wants to have a conference call like this?
I’ve been putting together a list of art centers in converted churches, across New York State, throughout the United States and around the world. Do you know somewhere I should add to the list? I’ll post the list up here at the end of the month!