Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Visit to Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral, in all her splendor

Nana came up to visit during the long weekend and asked if we could see the Anne Patterson 'Graced with Light' exhibit at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Given Ronan and Nieve had fun at the Carmel Mission we figured we'd give a larger church a try.

Looking up - unfortunately the cathedral's replica 'Ghibherti Doors' were away, being cleaned

A welcoming St. Francis - Ronan gave the statue a hug as he entered

It was fun to watch the kids approach a building of the cathedral's scale. Ronan ran up the steps directly to the doors and looked for a way in. Nieve was more cautious; she looked up at the imposing façade, and took a minute to decide whether to enter.

The Holy Water Font at the entrance to the cathedral

Once inside the kids had a blast. The cavernous nave was filled with color, movement and noise; there were several focal points that drew the attention of visitors. Ronan initially greeted the open-armed statue of St. Francis of Assisi but soon found the over-sized holy water font too intriguing to be ignored.

The Labyrinth - Ronan and Nieve, along with several others, make their way to the middle

Making (some) progress, although Ronan skipped a few loops to speed up the process

In front of the font is a labyrinth which proved to be the most engaging part of the cathedral tour. Most visitors could not help themselves from entering and diligently following the long, twisting path to the center. Both Ronan and Nieve entered the labyrinth unprompted; Ronan even made it to the center (although he intentionally cut out a few loops while doing so).

Colored ribbons and bright lights created interesting perspectives

Viewed from the side, the ribbons were reminiscent of a gentle rain falling on the nave

The 'Graced with Light' exhibit was a fun addition as well. Hundreds of ribbons fell in various lengths, colors, and widths from the cathedral ceiling. Circulating air made the ribbons twist gently in a delicate dance, adding the element of movement to the experience.


Nieve was taken with the visual stimulation - when looking up at the ribbons and the bright flood lights that lit them she exclaimed, "Look - fireworks!" Given her cue, I snapped a picture from her perspective and indeed it is reminiscent of an exploding pyrotechnic device.

Ribbons falling on the rose window, the holy water font, and the labyrinth

A perspective of the display from the transcepts

Nana too was captivated by the experience. It was fun to watch her, along with Ronan and Nieve, test out various viewing angles of the hanging ribbons. Large, kinetic (even if only slightly) exhibits seem good for a wide range of tastes.

Leaving the cathedral after a fun visit

It was an interesting and engaging visit, one that all of us enjoyed. We may visit Grace Cathedral again, and when we do hopefully the Ghibherti Doors will be back in their intended spot.


Holly Teetzel said...

Yes, it was a fascinating exhibit. And it would be wonderful to return and take the official tour of the building and grounds. I loved how the kids enjoyed the new experience. Thanks for taking us there!

CalBadger said...

Great pix, Erik! Di made a pilgramage there several years ago with some like-minded friends--she loved it. Cousin Karin is in to Labyrinmths, she has been to the world famous one in France (sorry, forgot the n ame of the town. elieve it of not, Cambria has a very nice labyrinth behind St. Paul's Episcopal Church...nice setting, etc.