Restoring the Spirit for St. James Catholic Church

Published in Religious Product News

The beautiful St. James Church in Louisville, Kentucky, was designed by prominent architect, James J. Gaffney in 1912 and originally decorated by the Conrad Schmitt Studios in 1927.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the parish, the congregation wished to restore the ornate decorative scheme that had been previously painted over.

Because Conrad Schmitt Studios was involved in the original decoration of the church in 1927, the research into the original colors and patterns began in their extensive library of project files. The file yielded the original contract and black and white photos that became the blueprint for the restoration.

Restoring the scheme with historic accuracy meant that the artists needed to gather additional facts.

A comprehensive investigative study determined the original decorative elements and colors used in the 1927 scheme, including 26 paint colors, 7 glaze colors, 3 types of metal leaf, a faux mosaic dome ceiling, and extensive trompe l’oeil stencils.

After the investigation, studio artists proceeded with the creation of an onsite decorative sample. This sample helped to propel a fundraising campaign that allowed the parish to make the transformation of the interior a reality.

The project was completed in seven months, allowing the parish to celebrate their 100th anniversary in the glory and tradition of their original worship space.

Conrad Schmitt Studios was honored with the 2008 Picture It Painted Professionally (PIPP) Award for the project from the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.

-Founded in 1889, the award-winning Conrad Schmitt Studios creates and restores interiors for churches and cathedrals throughout the country. One of the oldest and largest glass studios in the country as well, CSS is nationally recognized for outstanding craftsmanship in the creation, conservation and restoration of stained glass,

Restoring the Spirit for St. James Catholic Church (PDF 4.16 Mb)

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