St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church
UPDATE: October 2014
Dixon Sudio created a new predella and backdrop for the sanctuary, under the guidance of current pastor. Just framing the space and creating a central location for the tabernacle brings focus and reverence to the space. The choir has been moved to the side, in a supporting role, to make room for the central attraction: the celebration of the Eucharist.
See the artist's rendering in the first image below; more photos to follow soon.
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Dixon Studio has created many windows and one glorious mosaic for this church in the Tidewater area. The worship space at St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church is temporary, as the long range plan calls for a larger church to be built, at which time the current worship space will become the parish hall. In the meantime however, there was a desire to make the current space feel more 'church like' without going to great expense and perhaps being able to move the artistic enhancement on to the next space in the future.
The Dixon Studio solution was inspired by the contemporary, linear sanctuary furnishings. The delicate form and light palette was carried to the windows, which were framed in wood of the same tone. Within each framework, a subframe was constructed in the form of a cross, with a center stained glass vignette, depicting a saint of importance and inspiration for the parish or the diocese.
This project resulted in an achitecturally appropriate improvement to the metal storefront windows and provided a gallery of jewel-like windows around the worship space, at a fraction of the cost of full size windows --and it allows for their removal to a future chapel when this space in converted to a parish hall. The successful reconciliation of artistic, budgetary, and practical concerns prompted Msgr. Michael McCarron to declare the solution "scathingly brilliant!"
Click on the images below for larger views and a slideshow option.
In addition to the small surrounding windows, the studio also created the Holy Spirit window over the sanctuary and the celtic knot etched panel between the worship space and the Blessed Sacrament chapel.
Outside, the parish has begun construction of an ambitious mausoleum garden, also to be completed in phases. The first section includes a centerpiece mosaic based on the painting Coronation of the Virgin (c. 1645) by Diego Velazquez. Enlarged and modified by studio designer Ronald Neill Dixon, the full size, full color design was sent to Italy for fabrication by master craftsmen and then shipped back to Virginia for installation. Measuring approximately 6' wide x 7.5' high, and consisting of more than 50,000 individual tiles, this exquisite work brings a bit of old world beauty to this growing rural / suburban neighborhood.
Photos by Genesis Studio Photography as noted. All other images by Dixon Studio.
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