Cathedral of St. John the Divine Blog

Harlem/Havana Festival at the Cathedral REBECCA MERRILL AUGUST 15, 2017

This past Saturday, the Cathedral was honored to kick off the 2nd Annual Harlem/Havana Music & Cultural festival with a concert featuring Cesar Lopez y Habana Ensemble and the Obini Bata dancers. The festival, which takes place during the month-long Harlem Week celebration, highlights the connection between the two cities and facilitates an arts, culinary, and education exchange. (Harlem artists, chefs, and educators will travel to Havana in February 2018.)

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A Summer of Sculpture - Animals of Freedom REBECCA MERRILL AUGUST 10, 2017

As we celebrate Artist in Residence Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain with a retrospective exhibit as a part of A Summer of Sculpture, we also celebrate the Animals of Freedom Children’s Sculpture Garden that surrounds the Fountain.


The Peace Fountain is dedicated to the creativity of children and to commemorate that, Wyatt invited school children from the Tri-State area to sculpt animals to be bronzed and placed around the sculpture. The current 120 sculptures were crafted over a five year period starting in 1985 and are meant to illustrate how the candid spontaneity of children can show us the way towards peace.

Learn more about Wyatt and his work by visiting the exhibition up through September 10.

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A Summer of Sculpture - Ursus REBECCA MERRILL AUGUST 3, 2017

Ursus, Dan Ostermiller’s 8 foot tall bronze bear, was a natural choice to live in front of the Cathedral’s Great Bronze Doors because of the bear’s oversized scale and larger than life personality.

Ursus bear statue in front of Cathedral bronze doors

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Cathedral Red-tailed Hawks REBECCA MERRILL JULY 31, 2017

There are many creatures that call the Cathedral Close home, including a pair of Red-tailed Hawks who return to the Cathedral every summer to nest. In early June, a few weeks after other notable Red-tailed Hawk duos in Central Park and Tompkins Square Park, our pair hatched three babies. The adolescent hawks, now in a period of development called fledgling, are in the processes of learning to hunt on their own in order to eventually leave the safe confines of the Close. Once they fly off, these hawks won't return to the Close but we'll see their parents next summer as the process begins again.

Pictures from Susan Kirby.

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The 12th Annual CCC Health Fair REBECCA MERRILL JUNE 27, 2017

This past Saturday, our social services arm, Cathedral Community Cares, hosted their 12th Annual Health Fair offering free health screenings, Zumba, Yoga, and much more. One of the biggest hits was the table from The Honeybee Conservancy, which takes care of the 15,000 honeybees that have lived on the Close since 2012. These residents help pollinate the lush grounds of the Cathedral and keep nature's natural cycles in place.

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The Barberini Tapestries: Live Weaving Demonstrations MIKE WU MAY 12, 2017

In celebration of The Barnerini Tapestries, we're hosting live weaving demonstrations on select dates through the end of June! You can get an inside glimpse into the craft behind our priceless tapestries and chat with weavers about their work.

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St. John in the News: The Blessing of the Bikes REBECCA MERRILL MAY 9, 2017

This past Saturday, we hosted the 19th Annual Blessing of the Bikes. We host the event every year, usually before the five-borough bike tour, to kick off the riding season.

Bikes being blessed
The Rev. Canon Patrick Malloy sprays holy water as he walks past the cyclists. Credit: Gregg Vigliotti/New York Daily News

Read more from The New York Daily News.

Divine Bees on the Move! REBECCA MERRILL MAY 8, 2017

Due to upcoming construction on the Cathedral School, last week our Divine Bees moved from their current home near the school to a secluded area behind Diocesan House. Our volunteer beekeepers and facilities staff made sure the whole operation went off without a hitch!

Beekeepers pack bees

Beekeepers move bees

St. John in the News: The Sebastians REBECCA MERRILL MAY 1, 2017

Last Monday night, The Sebastians, musical ensemble specializing in music of the baroque and classical eras, performed all of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. Six musicians performed simultaniously throughout the Cathedral in an event that could only be executed in the Cathedral's massive space.

Beth Wenstrom performs. Credit: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Read more about it from the New York Times.

Peacocks Get Clean Bill of Health REBECCA MERRILL APRIL 27, 2017

Just like your pets, the three peacocks that call the Cathedral Close their home need regular checkups! On Wednesday, April 26, Lorelei Tibbetts and a team from The Center for Avian & Exotic Medicine stopped by to check in on Jim, Harry, and Phil. Everything checked out with our favorite feathered residents, and they are back to patrolling the Close!

vet outside hutch

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The Barberini Tapestries: Missa Cantata & Jephte REBECCA MERRILL APRIL 20, 2017

We installed The Barberini Tapestries in the style of the 17th century—on the walls at eye level—in order to transform the Chapel of St. James into a Baroque Chapel. On Wednesday, April 19th, we took the transformation a step further by celebrating a Latin Mass with Baroque music in the chapel.

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History of Textiles REBECCA MERRILL APRIL 3, 2017

Textile manufacturing, along with pottery and metalwork, is one of the foundational human industries. Clothing appeared somewhere between 100,000 and 500,00 years ago; possible sewing needles have been found dating back 40,000 years. Spinning, weaving, dying and the many other textile techniques spread quickly, though it is impossible to pinpoint the origin of most developments. Trade in cloth was of great importance in the ancient world-the famed Silk Road being one of the major trade routes—and tapestries were in use in Hellenistic times, and perhaps before.

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An Interview with Guest Curator Robin Kahn! VALERIA JARA MARCH 31, 2016

Robin Kahn, guest co-curator for The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet, was interviewed on Sandi Klein's radio show Conversations with Creative Women. In this interview, Kahn speaks about her introduction to food and food justice, as well as what led her to curate an exhibition grounded in themes of food security and accessibility at the Cathedral.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet is on view at the Cathedral until April 3, 2016. Click here for a full list of our closing programs.

Creations Throughout the Cathedral Close MIA MICHELSON-BARTLETT MARCH 28, 2016

The final days of The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet are also the final days to view student artwork on the Value of Food Youth Art Walls. These two walls, located at the southwest end of the Cathedral ambulatory, have displayed a rotating selection of food-themed artwork by local students throughout the exhibition.

Through April 3rd, visitors can see The Cathedral School fourth graders’ food faces, based on the art of Guiseppe Arcimboldo. Students traced their own profiles, then filled in their features using food motifs.

The Cathedral School's food faces (detail).

On the opposite wall are spring flowers, planters, and shakers made from recycled materials by the after school students at Adults and Children in Trust (ACT). They saved recyclable materials from their daily snacks and repurposed them into a colorful wall of art that illustrates an important theme: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

More information about both of these projects is displayed on the walls alongside the artwork. Catch these beautiful creations before they expire—along with the rest of The Value of Food—on April 3rd.

An Open Letter on Gentrification MIA MICHELSON-BARTLETT MARCH 2, 2016

Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights, for facilities to get better? –Spike Lee at the Pratt Institute, 2013

The following letter was drafted during a visit to The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet and addresses gentrification in the South Bronx. The author, a junior from The Calhoun School, has allowed us to share it with our readership.

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Exploring Social Justice, Community Service, Hunger, and Homelessness MIA MICHELSON-BARTLETT FEBRUARY 17, 2016

Students from the Calhoun School and De La Salle Academy working on social justice initiatives visited the Cathedral to explore the connections between The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet and their classroom studies.

For the last several years, middle school students from De La Salle Academy have visited the Cathedral as part of their Social Justice and Community Service elective course. For the fall of 2015, their weekly visits centered around the social justice aspects of The Value of Food. Early in the semester, they learned about the history of social justice initiatives at the Cathedral and toured the exhibition. They then dove deeper into the individual works of art, exploring objects and installations that addressed a variety of topics. These explorations led to each student creating their own mini-tour of the exhibition, which focused on 3 works of art. The tours were presented to their classmates in December as a culminating project.

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Local Students and "The Value of Food" MIA MICHELSON-BARTLETT JANUARY 14, 2016

Throughout October, November, and December, students in Morningside Heights were exploring the Cathedral’s special exhibition, The Value of Food: Sustaining A Green Planet, in a variety of exciting ways.

The School at Columbia University included the exhibition in its after school programs, offering a class this fall called Art at the Cathedral: The Value of Food. With students from 3rd to 5th grade enrolled, the class has made multiple visits to the exhibition and is producing artwork that explores themes of health and social justice. One of their first projects of the year was a meal collage, using dried beans, pasta, and other food materials as well as paper and cardboard. In this project, the students were asked what they would serve to someone who was suffering from hunger, and with whom they might share a meal. These collages were installed on the Value of Food Youth Art Walls, located at the southwest end of the Cathedral Ambulatory, for the opening of the exhibition in October. The class will also be showing a culminating exhibition of their work from the fall school term on the Youth Art Walls at the end of January.

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The Cathedral Choristers and their Stellar Season! VALERIA JARA DECEMBER 8, 2015

In addition to their lovely performances throughout the regular 2015–2016 concert season, The Cathedral Choristers, led by Kent Tritle, Director of Cathedral Music, and Malcolm J. Merriweather, Choral Associate, have recently collaborated with two wonderful groups.

On November 23rd, the Choristers performed at the grand unveiling of the Saks Fifth Avenue Winter Palace, alongside the Oratorio Society of New York. On November 14th, they recorded a breathtaking version of "Silent Night" with the Piano Guys and Plácido Domingo. Each performance is available to watch below.

The Saks Fifth Avenue Winter Palace—
Video available via this link.

"Silent Night" by the Piano Guys and Plácido Domingo—

Be sure to see the Cathedral Choristers perform with he Cathedral Choir, Chorale, and Orchestra this Saturday, the 12th, in the annual Cathedral Christmas Concert!

Most Elevating of Voices on YouTube ISADORA WILKENFELD NOVEMBER 30, 2013

On November 20th, 2013, in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Great Music in a Great Space presented Most Elevating of Voices, the Musical Legacy of Andrew Carnegie: A Transatlantic Celebration, featuring the voices of the Cathedral's massed choirs, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir, and the famed Great Organ. The entirety of the concert is available to watch below, or by clicking this link.

With a New Website Comes a New Blog! KAREN KEDMEY OCTOBER 28, 2013

Welcome to the Cathedral's new blog, where you will find musings and insights from "bloggers" on and off the Close. Check back in the coming weeks for new posts, and feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment.