Song of Seraphim

Submitted by Juanita Yoder

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Client: Georgian Court University

Location: Lakewood, NJ, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team

Artist

Juanita Yoder

Client

Evelyn Saul Quinn, VP Mission Integration Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University

Overview

Four processional silk paintings on lightweight poles are held vertical by heavy bases. The paintings offer color and flexibility in the university chapel, and can help create a Liturgical environment in other gathering spaces on campus. Each base displays a plaque memorializing family members of the donor.

Goals

Fine art and architecture is integral to the Georgian Court University campus, the former estate of the son of a railroad tycoon, and designated a National Historic Landmark. The newer modern Dorothy Marron Chapel was still in need of artwork and Liturgical color. The floor to ceiling wall of windows look out into a garden and arboretum. The client was looking for flowing Liturgical color without permanently obstructing the view of these cherished gardens. Original paintings on silk in a gonfalon format offered the solution, providing Liturgical color for the baccalaureate and graduation services as well. The pieces were designed with a creative interpretation of the Liturgical seasonal colors. Two pieces can be displayed for Advent and Lent (blues and violets), and two were designed for use during Christmas and Easter (golds and whites). When the drawing designs were submitted, Evelyn Saul Quinn responded with, “ABSOLUTELY breathtaking! I can only imagine what they look like in person! They speak of passion, love, life, and the overwhelming nature of God and faith! I am so excited to see this coming to life through your talent and commitment.”

Process

The process began with a tour of the historic campus. Stories of the inspiring missions and concerns of this Sisters of Mercy university were shared by Evelyn Saul Quinn, Vice President of Mission Integration. Subsequent conversations were enjoyed with other staff and committee members. Portfolio images and painting on silk samples, including a large piece, were presented. The client decided to commission something site specific for the chapel that could also be used around campus for special occasions. The project was funded by a memorial gift, and engraved plaques were created for the floor bases to honor family members of the donor. When the paintings were delivered, they needed to be transferred quickly between three locations for graduation ceremonies. Due to rain storms, a large clear plastic “rain coat” was also provided for the assembled processional paintings. That was a first. Evelyn Saul Quinn wrote of the pieces, “The work is absolutely magnificent. I had exceptionally high expectations but the reality exceeds the dream!”

Additional Information

The four paintings offered a more intimate environment for the baccalaureate service, which was held in a former expansive polo court (now a gymnasium), and later spread out to offer color in the graduation ceremony. During the baccalaureate service the paintings were dedicated and blessed by Fr. Richard Rohr. Another blessing was to see the paintings “flown” into the service by the beloved students, thus continuing the integration of art and life on the Georgian Court University campus.