We believe that art connects people to the depths of their souls and to the divine, so we foster the arts in many ways. We have an Artist in Residence program. Our cathedral is a work of art that is filled with works of art. And we host art exhibits and programs at various times throughout the year.
Projecting Grace is a monthly projection of digital artwork on the façade of Grace Cathedral based around a theme. With the cathedral closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, Projecting Grace is both a safe and public expression of the values we share.
The art projected on the cathedral celebrates artists and activists from across the San Francisco Bay area – creators that share our values of inclusion, equity and justice for all. Through this project we share the movements and energy of social change, something art can do so beautifully.
San Francisco-based nonprofit Illuminate and Grace Cathedral present Grace Light, a site-specific, large-scale immersive light installation created by George Zisiadis, with an original score composed by Gabriel Gold.
As light emanates from the eaves directly above Grace Cathedral’s famed labyrinth, visitors look upward through a light atmospheric haze and are enveloped in a 100-foot-tall shifting curtain of light. Visitors will lie down within the labyrinth or stand just outside it and be led on a 15-minute journey of light and sound.
Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path
Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path was created our 2016 Artists’ in Residence, Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell. The work is made of rungs of LED lights and rising 55 feet from base to top of the cathedral. The LED rungs act as a fragmented screen for low-resolution moving images of enigmatic figures that ascend and descend the ladder.
The installation speaks not just to the Bible story, but also to the cathedral’s theme for 2016, “Home,” to the connections between the visible and invisible and to our own personal journeys on the ladder of life.
Jim Hodges, a leading installation artist known for mixed-media sculptures and collages, will premiere Unearthed, his bronze-cast monumental uprooted tree stump, which after its residency at Grace Cathedral will be replanted in a field sown with grass. During the residency, a series of concerts will be offered from May to September.
Waterfront, a five-panel oil painting by the cathedral’s 2018 Artist in Residence Sukey Bryan, explores the beauty and simultaneous power and delicacy of the ocean. This painting brings the viewer in close as the water is shaped and blown apart by the physics of tidal movement, wind and shoreline. With intense environmental pressures on ocean life and rising global sea levels, our dependence and responsibility for the care of the oceans and pushing back temperature rise is a front worth joining.
Glacier Realm (Gallery, lower level)
A series of paintings Bryan created while Artist in Residence at Denali in Alaska.
Les Colombes: The Doves (Cathedral interior)
German artist Michael Pendry’s Les Colombes: The Doves will be presented in the cathedral. Two thousand paper doves, symbols of spirit and peace, will soar in a 45-foot long aerial sculpture. Volunteers from our congregation and the community will fold the doves, whose wings will bear messages of hope and inspiration.
Rainbow World Fund World Tree of Hope (Cathedral interior)
The RWF World Tree of Hope is a gift to the San Francisco Bay Area and the world from the LGBT community. It is the largest annual origami-decorated holiday tree in the world, with more than 17,000 origami cranes and stars. Wishes are sent in from around the world by mail and online at rainbowfund.org/tree. The wishes are then printed and folded into origami cranes by a diverse team of volunteers.
Earth Window (Cathedral façade)
A two-part image of our planet embracing the cathedral’s Rose Window. Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice Ellen Clark-King said: “To me it speaks of a broken earth with the light of hope at its heart. What does it say to you?”
A series of eight large-scale photographs.
Green Fuse (Cathedral interior columns)
From the artist: Images of leaves celebrate the common, omnipresent, yet essential and miraculous life force of green that fills our world. Bright green leaves of local California Black Oak, a key species for our local ecology, are enlarged to an enormous scale, tall and narrow at 32×2. Plants transform the sun’s light through photosynthesis into food nutrients that make up the base of the earth’s food chain including our own human diet. Simultaneously, leaves are the engine of all life’s breath — each breath taken by any living thing depends on the oxygen that leaves produce. And now, we need the plants and leaves to help us stop the rise in global atmospheric temperature and climate change by processing and containing carbon gases produced by human activity (everyone, go plant trees!). “Green Fuse” is in recognition, celebration, wonder and homage, in large scale, to this miraculous, small and everywhere, part of our world. Dylan Thomas’s astounding poem is the source of the title:
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age”
June 9 through June 24
This installation by James Nocito pays tribute to the forty-nine people murdered in the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016. Nocito’s simple and dignified portraits are a moving reminder of this tragic loss and also, that love is stronger than hate.
Learn more about 49 Farolitos.
May 20 through June 3
2018 Grace Cathedral Artist in Residence Sukey Bryan continues to consider the truth of climate change with the installation of her twelve-paneled piece entitled Fire Within. Designed Pentecost using the image of wildfire as an expression of the Holy Spirit, Fire Within is a metaphor for the desire to burn away weakness, fear and selfishness, and of a commitment to truth through the cleansing fire.
As California continues to recover from some of the most destructive fires in the state’s history, Fire Within reminds us of the delicate balance between nature and people, destruction and regeneration—and echoes the Sotomayor mural showing the destruction of Grace Church in the 1906 fire.
April 22 through May 27
National Natural Landmark Burney Falls, the Shasta County waterfall that Teddy Roosevelt called “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” cascades down the Great Steps. Our 2018 theme is truth, and our artist in residence, Sukey Bryan, will address the truth about climate change throughout the year.
Learn more about Water Without
We Have Made These Lands What They Are: The Architecture of Slavery
February 17 to March 31
Through extensive research in six states Salmon uncovered ledgers, diary entries, accounting logs, letters, slave auction records, transcribed WPA-era interviews and countless books to compile a continuous, though patchwork, narrative of the history of the American slave economy. By coupling words with impressionistic images she aims to give voice and life to the crude, quotidian realities behind the grand, sweeping staircases and Spanish Moss of sugar-coated tourist lore.
Learn more about We Have Made These Lands What They Are
NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Exhibit
For the 30th anniversary of the NAMES Project, panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display in the cathedral. The exhibit culminated with a special event on World AIDS Day, Friday, December 1, 2017 that included include the rededication of the cathedral’s recently-renovated AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel.
This gripping exhibit featured the photographic works of the ten finalists from the Bethlehem-based Karimeh Abboud Competition, named after the first female Palestinian professional photographer. The photos explored the day-to-day lives of the people living in Palestine through the lenses of young photographers.
In honor of Earth Day and Easter 2017, internationally exhibiting artist Sukey Bryan, who specializes in large work inspired by the cycles and elements of nature, created an installation for the cathedral’s Great Steps.
Right, before I die
“Right, before I Die” is a life-affirming exhibit about death. Artist Andrew George has photographed and interviewed twenty seriously-ill people. The exhibit asks what death can teach us about life. The forthright images and insights create a space where viewers can confront tough questions about end-of-life care and compassion for the dying, and also be inspired to ask “Can we reimagine the twilight of our lives?” “Right, before I die” premiered at Musea Brugge in Belgium for a 10-month run, viewed by 70,000 visitors; after Grace, it moves to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Letters to the Universe: Mapping the Story of the Human Journey
Letters to the Universe is a social art project inspired by the belief that every voice matters. Letters to the Universe, designed by artist and activist Kathi Joy and first presented at Burning Man, invites participants to write a letter with the Universe in mind and to post it in a gorgeous winged mailbox. The cathedral hosted an installation of Letters to the Universe in January/February 2106. The artist reported that 128 letters in five different languages were received during the installation at Grace and the leading theme of the letters, which tends to vary from venue to venue, was petition: letter-writers asked the universe for something for somebody else.
Fields of Prayer
Fields of Prayer was an immersive light and sound art experience presented by the cathedral’s 2015 Artists in Residence. Learn more here.
Foster Youth Museum
The Foster Youth Museum is the largest collection of art, artifacts and video portraits about youth experiences in foster care. Conceived by current and former foster youth, the museum offers a unique opportunity to understand foster youth perspectives and is an intersection of art and advocacy. An installation of the Museum’s Lost Childhoods exhibit in the cathedral in October/November 2015 was visited by 7,850 people.