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Thursday, April 23, 2009


This spring the First congregational church in Poughkeepsie,, sent out a call to artists contesting them to design a creative space within their chapel that reflected the concept of resurrection and new life. First of all I want to thank the congregation and vestry for their vision and generosity in reaching out to artists in this current economy. The idea and the project were heartfelt and inspiring to all, even to those artists who did not submit proposals. Both Michael and I were pleased and stirred by the contest.

The challenge was how to bring in anything that would stand out within the beauty of the arched alter, the glistening organ pipes, and the magnificent stain glass.

It seemed as if very little needed to be done to enhance the spiritual aspect of the church as it is, and whatever we brought in should be as simple as possible.

Our original idea involved an egg suspended over a nest, and since this is still the Easter season, it seemed logical to think of what the egg would bring. By using the Dove we pulled in the iconographic vocabulary of Jesus’ message of Peace, the Holy Ghost, and Moses’ journey to new Life.

The Dove is about 13 feet wide, cut out of four joined together birch luan panels, suspended in a cable ring embellished with “feathers”.  It is painted in an undercoating of a rainbow of colors and subdued with silver and white to enhance the silhouette. Miraculously there was a pulley already installed inside the top of the alter archway. Feeling that the concepts of Peace, new Life, and the Resurrection can be difficult for mortals to grasp, Michael and I offer, as an interactive part of the installation, a few wing feathers for each of the congregation members and visitors to take in hope of inspiring further reflection. The feathers are inscribed with individual biblical passages from Matthew, Isaiah, Luke, and John. They are contained loosely in a nest on the alter.

The project was a joy to work on. We hope you enjoy it and that it inspires all the peace and happiness for you that we felt collaborating on it.

 Tilly Strauss      

Michael Gellatly

 The Dove is scheduled to be on view through Pentecost Sunday. Worship at the FCC is at 10:30am. Visit the website to see the music concert schedule and additional hours.




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