Saturday, April 21, 2018

Arlington Street Church - ASC Tiffany Education Center

The Arlington Street Church is a Unitarian Universalist church across from the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of its geographic prominence and the notable ministers who have served the congregation, the church is considered to be among the most historically important in American Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism. Completed in 1861, it was designed by Arthur Gilman and Gridley James Fox Bryant to resemble James Gibbs' St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

In the 1960s, the congregation became active in the Civil Rights Movement. James Reeb, a minister active in the congregation, was murdered during a march in Selma, Alabama. Under the ministry of Jack Mendelsohn, the church became a center for protests against the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, the church led AIDS awareness programs and support for the homeless.

The main sanctuary space has 16 large-scale stained-glass windows installed by Tiffany Studios from 1899 to 1929. Originally, all of the sanctuary windows were glazed with clear glass. In 1898, the congregation voted to start installation of memorial stained glass windows created by the studios of Louis C. Tiffany, and commissioned a set of designs for all 20 windows. The last of 16 Tiffany windows was installed in 1929, just before the Great Depression dried up available funds. By the time the economic crisis had eased, Tiffany Studios had been liquidated (in 1937), and new Tiffany windows were unobtainable.

The Tiffany windows were designed by Frederick Wilson (1858–1932), Tiffany's chief designer for ecclesiastical windows. He made extensive use of Tiffany's special glassmaking technologies, including confetti glass, iridescent glass, 3D-textured "drapery glass", pastel colors for "painting in glass", and the trademark opalescent “Favrile” glass. There are as many as six or seven layers of glass in a Tiffany window, producing visual textures that would otherwise have to be painted in. Only some fine details impractical to produce in glass were hand-painted, in permanent enamel.

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