Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Center of the City and Center for the Arts

Saint Peter's Lutheran Church is located in bustling midtown Manhattan. It's current building has intentionally been designed to more than church, but also a permeable living and working space for the New York financial district. The building (which is connected to Citibank's headquarters) contains offices, apartments, gyms, restaurants and more. The building was also designed to intentionally be a center for the arts. In addition to a myriad of permanent art works commissioned by world famous artists, the church has two gallery spaces that are always open to the public and dedicated to showing work by emerging artists.

(Sorry about the quality of pictures, I didn't realize how bad they were until I left)

(What I'm trying to show in this image is one of the galleries doubling as soup kitchen)

The basement houses the separate York Theatre Company, which benefits from a great location and below-market rates.

Perhaps Saint Peter's strongest relationship with the artistic world is through jazz. 40 years ago, a pastor at Saint Peter's began to learn about the unique lives of jazz musicians, many of whom came out of Baptist traditions which frowned upon dancing, drinking, and "non-conventional sexual arrangements." This pastor didn't worry about any that, instead he cared for the lives of the people who made the music he loved. Eventually Duke
Ellington composed the tone poem "The Shepherd Who Watches Over the Night Flock" from his Second Sacred Concert in honor of the pastor.
To this day, the church has several jazz services throughout the week, allows emerging jazz musicians to perform weekly concerts, offers jazz in the outdoor square during the summer, provides studio spaces for musicians to practice, and continues to serve jazz professionals in their spiritual journeys.

1 comment:

MF Connection said...

Very impressive! NY, and the church, at its best as it enriches human life. This center goes to where people are emotionally and culturally, takes the most valuable part of it, and builds community around that. Didn't we talk to a pastor in Boulder about this church, or one similar?