St. Ann's Church and Cultural Center

St. Ann's Church and Cultural Center in Woonsocket is not only a national treasure, but perhaps one of global significance as its frescoes and stained glass windows are almost unparalleled. The Roman Catholic Diocese closed it as a place of worship about a decade ago. Since then, it has been used as a bingo hall and arts and cultural center on a limited basis, but that will not support the $1.2 million needed to make it water tight or the $5 million necessary for renovation. The $50,000 dollar annual maintenance costs is the least of its worries but this is America's treasure that cannot afford to be lost.

St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center is a non- profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of this former Roman Catholic Church. The Center's mission is to develop multiple venues of adaptive reuse for this endangered and irreplaceable, artistic and historical asset, thereby ensuring its preservation and producing a resource for the community.
 
The building, contrasted between 1913-1917 features over 40 exquisite stained glass windows made in France and installed 1923-1925, along with over 175 magnificent frescos hand painted in the 1940ís by Canadian artist Professor Guido Nincheri, who learned his craft in Florence, Italy.
 
For more about the talent show, upcoming happenings and the history of the facility, call 401-767-3777 or go to their website at www.stannartctr.org
 

A charette was recently held with many interested stakeholders - former parishioners, preservationists, cultural and artistic proponents and others merely in love with the many others. The task ahead is huge - how to support and properly utilize an absolutely magnificent and significant part of our past and artistic national treasure. The frescoes will become even more vivid, according to "Wolf", the Northeast Director of Fresco Artistry in Maryland, who made an impromptu visit and fell in love with the grandeur and artwork so compelling. What shall happen with this lovely building, a connection to a noble yet humble past sacrificing to create a magnificent tribute as God's home for generations to come? As the months bring discussion, debate and options, Blackstone Daily will follow the collaboration of many whose passion for preserving building will surely create some positive venues. Currently, thoughts of joining with RISD (RI School of Design), and other colleges and historical preservationist sopcieties or use as a dinner theatre are but a few of the possibilities under discussion. But the building and its artwork is undeniably glorious in every aspect.

The photos do not even bring a small percentage of its magnificence to light as one is surrounded at all sides by these frescoes and stained glass and marble. It's a gem!

Some of the people gathered at the Charette June 11, 2004 to find ways to preserve and financially sustain this great, historic beauty!


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