Our area of Western Pennsylvania in the 1800s was a sweeping forested artist retreat destination point. American landscape painter George Hetzel founded the famed Scalp Level School of Painting right here, bringing art students out from Pittsburgh for bohemian summer escapes that reached up to 1000 artists at one point. It was especially liberating for young woman who up until that point merely studied wallpaper designs but now were offered the opportunity to learn serious canvas painting. President Abraham Lincoln's wife even bought one of Hetzel's paintings for the White House. We plan to bring some of these original works back home to offer an inspiring permanent collection of our area's creative history. What we are creating here today is an ongoing extension of that same artist lineage. (Remember folks, first and foremost we are all creators, created in our creator's image. So...this means you too.)
Writer Thomas Moore in his The Re-Enchantment of Every Day Life noted, "It takes courage to save ruins." This strong, gorgeous Irish Catholic church sadly closed its doors a decade ago and has recently begun to fall into serious despair from water damage. But it is simply too beautiful a structure to let slip away so we are rescuing it. (Well, since you asked, it immediately needs a new metal roof ASAP.) We plan to reopen this historic location WITHIN ONE YEAR as a fascinating nondenominational destination point for the public, championing local as well as universal art, history, and spirituality.
Want to raise a cultural bar with us? Do you see yourself being a part of this team? We need help. Jump in any way you can if you're a local, or consider making a financial donation from afar. As American poet Walt Whitman wrote, "The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse."
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions saving this local beautiful church and future museum. Your generous donation will fund our mission to champion the spiritual Arts and fully rescue this worthy historic structure.