Author: Adrienne Boudreau:
Celebration of Needlecraft, an upcoming exhibit at the Buffalo Religious Arts Center (BRAC), will showcase historic needlework in the museum. Visitors to the show are also invited to check out the regular exhibits of Christian historical artifacts.
On Sunday May 4, from 2 – 4 p.m., Irish immigrant Veronica Hogle will showcase her family’s linen and lace collection she brought from Ireland in 1965. Hogle will also discuss the history of lace making in Ireland and the industry’s effect on the Irish people, especially during the famine of 1845 – 1849. Lacemaking became a major source of income for the Irish during that time and the money kept many fed.
Her collection includes lace from Europe, Africa, South America and the United States as well as a 100 year old Edwardian christening gown worn by four generations of her family.
“We have many other ecclesiastic textiles on display too,” added Mary Holland, President of the BRAC.
“We have this beautiful canopy…which are not used very often anymore except in solemn religious occasions and sometimes in Europe for carrying statues. It’s made of embroidered silk and is something really beautiful and special for us to have,” she said.
The BRAC is one of the nation’s two museums that collect artifacts from closed churches, the only other in Cleveland, Ohio. The museum has 12, 000 square feet of alters, alter furnishing, statues, stained glass and other artifacts from different denominations. These artifacts not only stand alone as works of art but also show the artistic style of the many different immigrant cultures from Buffalo and Rochester.
“I must have been to over 40 or 50 different closed churches between here and Rochester collecting all of this stuff,” said Holland.
The building itself is listed on both state and national registers of historic places. It features over 50 stained glass windows crafted in Munich, Germany, a ceiling painted by Hungarian artists, statues by Italian and polish sculptors and artwork by Danish immigrants.
Admission for Veronica Hogle’s exhibit and lecture is $12. All proceeds go to heating the 101 year old former church.