March 17, 2017: James Turrell Makes the Sky Look Like a Pantone Chip

A great description of a James Turrell from ArtNet News.

Washington Post article: Turrell’s feelings on Drake’s “Hotline Bling”

02/26/2017 How light artist James Turrell and an oval exoplanet inspired ‘Arrival’s’ Oscar-nominated production design

10/29/2013 Changing Skyline: Art installation transforms Chestnut Hill meetinghouse

Philadelphia Inquirer Architecture Critic, Inga Saffron, gives a rave review of the Skyspace.

10/23/2013 Skyspace in Chestnut Hill features work of ‘a great magician’

Daily News writer Morgan Zalot speaks with Philadelphia painter and Skyspace regular Stuart Shils about the sunrise and sunset openings.

10/20/2013    Simple folk, big-deal building

Daily News writer Becky Batcha, who writes about religious congregations in Philadelphia, attended meeting for worship with the Chestnut Hill Friends meeting members in October.

10/13/2013    Turrell Skyspace, pairing light and space, set to open to the public

Peter Crimmins and Jana Shea of WHYY and NewsWorks interviewed James Turrell. You can listen and read to their stories at the link above.

The Skyspace & New Building Open to the Public

10/16/2013 Skyspace Set to open to the Public on October 20 

Reporters Jana Shea of NewsWorks and Peter Crimmins of WHYY interview James Turrell about the new meetinghouse and Skyspace. Listen and read their stories here.

9/17/2013     Friends Begin to Worship in the New Meetinghouse

Barbara Sherf writes about the reactions of Meeting members to the new meetinghouse in her piece for the Chestnut Hill Local, Hill Friends worship in new meetinghouse.

8/6/2013      The New Meetinghouse is Finished 

Writer Jana Shea and photographer Bas Slabbers covered the completed construction of the Chestnut Hill Friends New Meetinghouse Project in her piece, Pairing art with architecture — a look inside Chestnut Hill’s new Quaker meetinghouse.

4/24/2013      Installation of the James Turrell Skyspace Begins

NewsWorks writer Jana Shea covers the installation of the James Turrell Skyspace and the construction process, here.

5/15/2012    Joyous Groundbreaking well covered by press

4/23/2012 – Knight Foundation Arts Grant Gives $80,000 Challenge Grant

Chestnut Hill Friends New Meetinghouse Project was among the 35 winning proposals when the Knight Foundation Philadelphia Arts Challenge grants were announced on Monday, April 23, 2012.

The meetingroom in Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting’s new meetinghouse will contain a Turrell Skyspace, an aperture in the ceiling with a retractable roof, coved ceiling, and recessed lighting, which focuses one’s gaze on the beauty of the ever-changing sky overhead and induces silent reflection. With a tradition of welcoming people of all faiths, Chestnut Hill Meeting will open the Skyspace at least twice a week at dawn and dusk at regularly scheduled, published dates, with opportunities to open it more frequently upon request. Its design was donated by Turrell.

“We hope Turrell’s work will spark conversations about spirituality, contemporary art and community, as it weaves the arts into people’s everyday lives,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. Known for combining art and science to create simple, luminous chambers that prompt greater self-awareness through silent contemplation, Turrell’s works are commissioned by museums worldwide. This permanent Chestnut Hill installation in a non-traditional setting aims to become a major landmark, fostering dialogue about the intersection of art, spirituality and the human experience.

Read the full announcement on the Knight Foundation website, and see information on our project highlighted in yellow.
Download our press release.

4/12/2012 – Connelly Foundation Awards Project $25,000

We learned in mid-April that the Connelly Foundation has awarded us a $25,000 grant for our new meetinghouse project. From the award letter:

“After careful consideration our Review Committee determined that the new meetinghouse will serve as an anchoring institution that will help to strengthen the diverse Northwest Philadelphia community. With additional space, the CHFM will be able to expand its outreach to homeless families and refugees, to provide a place for community groups to meet and to offer educational programs, films, lectures, workshops and community events.

“We would like to congratulate you and your members for your careful and thorough planning over the past decade and your successful capital campaign in just about reaching your goal of $5.8 million. You and members of CHFM are to be commended for finding a nearby suitable site, engaging a renown architect (James Turrell) who has designed a practical building with a strong art/spiritual element (Skyspace), choosing to make the building environmentally friendly, realizing the need to expand space so as to accommodate more community groups and programs, partnering with park groups to reclaim the landscape and strengthening community partnerships.”

3/3/2012 – story, “Fundraising nearly complete for James Turrell Skyspace Friends Meetinghouse in Philadelphia”, by Jana Shea

“Can art and spirituality build a bridge between communities? That is what members of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting (CHFM) and local business leaders hope a new meetinghouse will do. A James Turrell Skyspace will be the the focal point of the project, which will feature a chamber containing simple seating, lighting and an aperture in the ceiling. It will open to the sky overhead and is aimed at inducing deep, silent reflection.

“CHFM held a community reception Thursday evening on the grounds of the Cliveden Historic Trust to promote awareness of the new meetinghouse and to raise funds. CHFM has raised most of their three million dollar capital campaign, but still needs $200,000 for the project. The cocktail reception was sponsored by Weaver’s Way Co-op, Valley Green Bank and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors.” Read the whole article »

2/9/2012 – William Penn Foundation awards $200,000 to new meetinghouse project

From the award letter:

The William Penn Foundation has approved a 24-month grant to Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project in the amount of $200,000 toward construction of the East Coast’s only year-round, publicly accessible example of a “Skyspace” installation by contemporary artist James Turrell on a site directly adjacent to Fairmount Park and the proposed Cresheim Valley Trail.

This is the largest single foundation grant to our project to date; congratulations to the grant-writing team for this accomplishment! Read our press release »

1/10/2012 – Knight Arts Challenge: 1 of 55 finalists!

The Knight Foundation announced today that Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting’s new meetinghouse project is one of 55 ideas selected as finalists by the 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia, a year-old grant-making initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of area organizations and individuals seeking to transform the community through the arts.

According to the Knight Arts Challenge website, 1,267 applicants answered the question: “What’s your best idea for the arts in Philadelphia?” The Knight Arts Challenge website says grantees of its program represent both emerging artists and organizations and the oldest and most venerable institutions in the eight communities nationwide Knight Arts programs serve. Winners will be announced in the spring.

The Knight Arts Challenge website notes that the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting project is “to spark dialogue about contemporary art by incorporating the work of internationally acclaimed light artist James Turrell into a new Quaker meetinghouse that is open to all.”

The Campaign is especially grateful to Nikla Lancksweert for getting us started, and Storm and Dan Evans, Jean Warrington and Ann Tydeman Solomon for their work preparing this challenging grant proposal, including compressing into the required 150-word statement the scope and impact of the project. Our proposal said:

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting’s Skyspace will introduce Philadelphia audiences to the work of internationally-acclaimed light artist James Turrell. Incorporated into a new Quaker meetinghouse where quiet meditation and a tradition of welcoming people of all faiths lend a fitting setting, the unique, donated, design will be regularly open at dawn and dusk to residents and tourists of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.

Many will visit northwest Philadelphia for the first time to experience the revelation and tranquility of seeing the changing sky through Turrell’s ceiling aperture. Known for combining art and science to create simple, luminous chambers that prompt greater self-awareness through silent contemplation, Turrell’s works are commissioned by museums worldwide.

This permanent installation in a non-traditional setting will become a major landmark, sparking dialogue about contemporary art, spirituality, human experience and Quaker beliefs, which were held by many of our city’s founding fathers.

11/19/2011 – Press coverage of architect’s briefing

10/26/2011 – Press coverage of our campaign kickoff event

10/10/2012   Interview with architect
In conjunction with the Meeting’s presentation of a program as part of DesignPhiladelphia 2012, the website HiddenCity Philadelphia ran an interview with architect James Bradberry. An excerpt:

Nathaniel Popkin, interviewer: “You are partnering with the highly acclaimed sculptural artist James Turrell, who is a Quaker. His skyspace installations seem to derive from the spiritual wonder he takes from the natural world–or the heavens. What’s your influence? What makes this a spiritual building? What makes any spiritual space different from other kinds of secular architecture?”
James Bradberry: “A spiritual building can be many things, depending on the religion. I used to teach architectural history and I absolutely love the evolution of the Christian church from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque, buildings in which faith was made manifest in the form and shape and plan and heavenly light, etc. Although, just as wonderful would be a Buddhist or Hindu temple, for different reasons. So to me, the question is what should a 21st century Meetinghouse be? And it is the things from traditional Quaker architecture updated, as well as what you said about Turrell.”

Visit the HiddenCity Philadelphia website to read the entire interview.

10/9/2011 – Weavers Way Co-op Shuttle article on Fall for the Arts Festival: Click to download the article as a PDF.

9/12/2011 – Weavers Way Co-op Shuttle article

An article in the September, 2011, edition of The Shuttle, the monthly newsletter of Weavers Way Co-op, lets that community know about our plans for the new meetinghouse. Written by Nikka Landau, the article invites members of the Weavers Way community – a large one that extends well beyond Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill ‐ to get involved in our project, and to sign up for our periodic emailed updates. Click to download a copy of the article.

4/26/2011 – Subscribe to periodic email updates about the project

We publish an email newsletter with brief updates about the project. If you are not already on the mailing list and would like to receive these occasional messages, please fill out and submit the Subscribe now form to the right (below the thumbnail image of the latest issue). You’ll receive a confirmation email at the address you enter here. Click the link in that email and your subscription information is added to our mailing list. (We do not let others use our mailing lists.)

4/17/2011 – Rothko’s son calls Philadelphia Skyspace a “gift to the world”

Christopher Rothko, son of abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko whose 14 paintings grace the non-denominational Rothko chapel in Houston, Texas, is an enthusiastic supporter of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting’s intention to incorporate a Skyspace by James Turrell into a new meetinghouse in northwest Philadelphia. Christopher, a clinical psychologist who edited and published his father’s manuscript The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art, has visited the Skyspace in Houston and had this to say about our undertaking:

“The experience of sitting beneath the James Turrell Skyspace at the Houston Friends Meeting is transformative. Creating a space like that in Philadelphia would be a gift not just to the community but to the whole world. A Turrell Skyspace provides a meditative atmosphere that will attract people of many different faith backgrounds.”

3/24/2011 – Quaker Artists’ journal celebrates Meetinghouse Project

In the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Types and Shadows, its quarterly journal, theFellowship of Quakers in the Arts (FQA) has published an article by Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting clerk Jean Warrington about the new meetinghouse project, highlighting the role of the James Turrell Skyspace.

Click to open a PDF of this article in a new window.

3/9/2011 – James Turrell elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists, and writers. Members of the Academy are elected for life and pay no dues. As vacancies occur, the Academicians nominate and elect new members. The honor of election is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States. Only Academicians may nominate and elect new members.

Click to read the press release in a new window.

12/9/2010 – FOW endorse Chestnut Hill new meetinghouse project

The Friends of the Wissahickon have sent a letter enthusiastically endorsing the project, and suggesting ways to partner. Click to read the letter.

12/1/2010 – Maryland art educator and Quaker says a Turrell Skyspace is a ‘gift’Read the letter from Susan Holt, Salisbury University Art Department.

12/2/2010 – Local press on NEA Grant

Two articles in local media outlets have called attention to the NEA grant announced last week.

11/30/2010 – Art leaders endorse Skyspace

Leaders in the art world locally and nationally have embraced plans to incorporate a Skyspace by world-renowned light artist James Turrell into a new Quaker meetinghouse in northwest Philadelphia, describing the project as both artistically significant and an important addition to the city’s already rich cultural offerings.

Click to download a document with a selection of supportive comments made by influential and highly regarded art luminaries about the project, which in November was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

11/23/2010 – NEA Supports Skyspace with Major Grant

On November 23, 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that it is awarding the Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse project a $75,000 grant towards the cost of incorporating a Skyspace by world-renowned light artist James Turrell into our new meetinghouse in northwest Philadelphia and making the artwork accessible to the public. We are delighted to have been selected to receive this funding.

The NEA was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.

We will use the NEA funds to defray part of the cost of installing the Skyspace, as well as to produce interpretative materials and carry out an outreach program to encourage people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds to come and visit.

Previously published articles
Following are news articles about the new meetinghouse project; click highlighted text to open or download copies of these articles as PDFs: