Welcome to

THE BLOG

GRACED BY THE LIGHT | GRACE CATHEDRAL, SAN FRANCISCO

I walked in and saw this. All I could say was… nothing. I just looked up, gaping, and allowed the experience to fill me. I could not talk for quite some time.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

It was 10 in the morning of a glorious sunny day in San Francisco. I had picked up my friend Valerie an hour earlier, and driven us over the Golden Gate (my Countryman’s first drive over the GG) headed for Grace.

Because of the labyrinth, Grace Cathedral had been on my bucket list for quite some time. Then, about 6 weeks ago, I found out about this beautiful art installation and I thought “OMG! Now I am here! I am so going there and not missing this!” I wanted to make sure it was a sunny day, though, as the quality of light would be different, and patiently waited for the Pineapple Express to move on.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

The ribbons, the light, the rainbow colors cast by the sunlight through the stained glass windows, the quiet and peacefulness, and the organ music: it was a mystical and powerful experience. It was magic.

Graced with Light is a music-inspired art installation by talented visual artist Anne Patterson created in celebration of 100 Years of Music at Grace Cathedral, which occurred in 2013.  It is constructed of nearly 20 miles of ribbon, and has been assembled by Anne Patterson and the Grace Cathedral Community. Quoting from the Cathedral’s website: “Ms. Patterson envisioned a series of light pathways, connecting heaven and earth, manifest as ribbons. The ribbons carry our prayers, dreams and wishes skyward, and, in turn, grace streams down the ribbons to us.” 

I had not read this before going there, but that is exactly how it felt.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

This installation is so beautiful and so popular that the Cathedral keeps extending its time. I had heard that it would only be up until February 28, then a docent told me that it would be up until after Easter. Now I have found out that it will be taken down on May 7th 2014. I hope they will change their minds and keep it permanently. Grace Cathedral is beautiful and powerful by herself, but this art installation enhances the place through such a powerful multi-sensory experience, that the Cathedral would now be barren without it. I feel the Spirit of Place sings with joy, and would miss it if it were taken down.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

I walked around and looked from every angle, taking photos as I went. A gentle breeze was coming in through the doors, making the ribbons sway and adding surreality to some of my images. I stood halfway down the center aisle between the pews and looked up, then slowly turned while still looking up. I felt like I was being showered by the Universal Light. Try it if you go for a visit. 

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

Valerie walked the labyrinth first, while I hung on to coats and bags. It was her first time walking one, and she found it a very calming, insightful experience.

Unfortunately, when it was my turn, other people had come in, which would have been fine in itself, if not for this teenage girl full of attitude who started walking it not long after I did, rushing through, making me feel rushed, shuffling her feet and holding a large hot drink in a paper cup. It was very annoying and took away from my experience. I will have to go back and do it again, hopefully alone or with more respectful people, maybe during one of the Candlelight Labyrinth Walks that are held regularly at the Cathedral. Actually, I would love to photograph that.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Colors-and-Labyrinth-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Colors-and-Labyrinth-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

We were both completely mesmerized by the colors and light, and I took a lot more photographs than I am sharing here. It was really difficult to choose which ones to share and spare you doubles.

The ribbons are mostly red and blue, with some green, and the overall color cast is a beautiful shade of magenta mixed with purple. You can see it on Valerie’s hair in the image below.

.

Valerie-Carlson-enjoying-the-colors-of-Graced-by-the-Light-art-installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-in-San-Francisco-California

.

I am not sure if the organist was there to practice, or if this is a regular performance at Grace, but the music kept going the whole time we were there, very much adding to the experience, even if the quiet was very peaceful when it stopped. See the organist in the image below, sitting where the light is shining on the music sheets, in the central part of the altar.

.

Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal Church, and the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of California. Besides prayers and functions, their calendar is always filled with wonderful music and art events. They just recently held their annual Carnevale gala night and I wish I had found out sooner so I could attend – to take photos of course!
They removed the pews from the center nave where the ribbons are, and laid out long tables beautifully set for dinner, making it look like the dining hall at Hogwarts. You can see a slideshow of images from the event on their website, alas not mine. I have photo-op envy.

I also found out that, the day after our visit, there was going to be a wedding at Grace. Can you imagine how magical it all must have looked, all decorated with flowers for the ceremony? Most wedding crashers are interested in the wedding reception for the food; I should have crashed the ceremony for the flowers, and the pics. More photo-op envy.

.

Outdoor-labyrinth-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

As you can see above, the Cathedral also has an outdoor labyrinth. It is located on the right as you walk up the steps to the main entrance.

Below is a outdoor view of Grace Cathedral bathed in the morning sunlight. The Cathedral is further graced by replicas of the Gates of Paradise, the famous doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti that used to be installed on the Baptistry building in Florence. I say used, because the current ones are also replicas, installed in 1990, while the originals are being preserved in a dry and controlled environment.

.

Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

I am not delving on all the other exquisite art pieces visible at Grace Cathedral because that was not what my visit and this article are about. I went there for the experience, one I plan to repeat soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual version of it, and maybe feel inspired to include Grace Cathedral on your bucket list for your next trip to San Francisco.

.

Graced-by-the-Light-Art-Installation-at-Grace-Cathedral-San-Francisco-California

.

Update of July 12th 2015 – The ribbon art installation has finally been removed. I have heard several reasons for this decision, but they are all beyond my comprehension. Grace Cathedral still remains a worthy stop on your visit to San Francisco, but it has lost its magic. Some people just do not appreciate a good thing when they have it.

.

GRACE CATHEDRAL

1100 California St. – San Francisco, Ca 94108   l   ph. 415.749.6300   l   website   l   FB   l   TW

.

.

If you enjoyed this post and you would like to see more of the delights I have so far discovered in the City by the Bay, click on the widget below to keep exploring. And for all of California, click on the one below that!

Explore-San-Francisco Explore-California

.

And if you are enjoying my blog, click on the button below to subscribe. I promise I won’t swamp you with e-mails!

Subscribe-to-Life-Out-of-Bounds

.

.

4 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Diantha03/21/2014 - 2:55 pm

    This is an exquisite piece on an exquisite installation! Thank you, Monica!ReplyCancel

    • Monica Schwartz03/21/2014 - 3:07 pm

      Thank you Diantha! It is a stunning, powerful installation. I truly hope it will stay forever.ReplyCancel

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella05/26/2014 - 3:04 am

    What magnificent colours! I’ve never seen a cathedral like it! 😮ReplyCancel

    • Monica Schwartz05/26/2014 - 10:35 am

      I know, isn’t it stunning!? The installation will actually be up till the end of summer – a last minute decision resulted by so many people contacting the Cathedral about it. I hope you have a chance to see it. 🙂ReplyCancel

Sign up for my Newsletter

Subscribe-to-Life-Out-of-Bounds
June-2020-newsletter

In the Kitchen

Recipes-for-Summer

Free Gifts

Free-Wallpapers-widget
Autumn-Equinox-2022
ShinrinYoku-Invitations-Widget

Latest Posts

Healthy Living

Color-and-wellbeing
Shinrin-Yoku-forest-bathing-forest-therapy

Popular Posts

Explore

Travel-and-explore-California
Travel-and-explore-Hawaii
Travel-and-explore-Italy

Featured Posts

Cute Wigglers

Photo-stories-of-cute-dogs

Don’t Miss

Archives

Subscribe to Life Out Of Bounds

Stay in touch to keep the inspiration going.

  • Monthly Newsletter & Post Roundup
  • New Post Update
  • Occasional Special Announcements

Subscribe and receive this beautiful e-book as free download.