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Sacred Spaces - Divine Light: Stained Glass Bus Tour

Posted at 4:40 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 16:40:14-04

Emily Lampa is at Trinity Buffalo and spoke with Megan McElfresh executive director, Stained Glass Association of America. A few years ago, she says, we moved the national offices for the Stained Glass Association of America, our 120 year old trade association right here to Buffalo in part because we have a treasure of stained glass that is very, very unique. Megan says it’s very rare and I love being here; it’s an amazing place to have our national offices located. She goes on to say the most fun part of my job is that people see stained glass, and everybody loves stained glass, they an no idea why, they don’t remember who they saw in the windows, they just go, ‘oh no I just saw this really amazing stained glass. She says the really amazing thing about glass is that it is the art of light and when you are out and you are looking at it and you are seeing all these amazing installations all over Buffalo, it’s like a living museum and you’re having a biological experience when you look at the stained glass because you are looking at light, it’s the art of light so your eyes are vibrating and it’s speaking to your soul.

Trinity Buffalo is kind of a unique location throughout all of Buffalo, Emily shows us just one corner that has three major artists. Megan says one of the reasons Trinity Buffalo was a perfect place for our offices is that it is one of two locations in the country where you have Tiffany and LaFarge windows in the same place and they were really developing the opulence style. She says you can see their studios develop their very unique art forms that they would become known for; right here in Trinity some of their earliest windows and some of their finest wok is right here in Trinity so I really love sharing this space; I love going out and talking about how that all fits in the greater story of stained glass and what was happening across America.

There is a three-part series starting tonight on the history of stained glass in our community. The speaker series is free to attend. Megan says the speaker series in Black Rock is focusing on stained glass and it is starting off with me giving an overview on the whole history of stained glass in American and what it took to develop this industry in American and why different windows across America, across Buffalo are unique.

Megan says what what’s exciting about the Explore Buffalo Bus tour is that the proceeds from these tours support those sacred spaces that you are visiting, so when you come to Trinity Buffalo, when we go to First Presbyterian, when we go to Temple Beth Zion, the proceeds from those tours go to those spaces and they desperately need the funds to care and maintain this amazing museum. Megan says we are so lucky because we have such an incredible collection of glass here in Buffalo but it is reaching a crucial age an d it is not inexpensive to restore those windows and they all reach a point where they are fatigued and they need major restoration and it sort of happens between 100 and 150 years. She says for instance here at Trinity Buffalo the windows are about 120 years old and it’s going to cost six million dollars to restore but there are not windows like them. They are national treasures. Megan says we have a LaFarge window that traveled to France and back it won an award and the French government wanted to buy it and we said, have you heard of Buffalo’s weather system; we’re going to need that back, there is a hole in the wall.

Megan says there are amazing collections, and they need our love and our care and a very proactive stewardship and all of these sacred spaces are still fully operational congregations that serve the community in so many ways and touring the spaces and learning to appreciate the incredible art collections of artwork inside is one of the ways that we as a community can give back. The Explore Buffalo website has all the information for the sacred spaces tours and the bus tours that we are leading. There is also information on the Stained Glass Association of America’s Facebook page.