In addition to the historic churches, temples and mosques that dot the Boston skyline, sacred spaces are hidden around the edges of the city, just out of view. These chapels, meditation spaces and prayer rooms serve a spiritual mission within otherwise secular institutions. Some were designed by well-known architects while others were created informally by people desiring a small retreat. They may be familiar and accessible or truly hidden from public view, but they all invite passers-by to pause, sit for a moment, and reflect.
Sociologist Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University), architectural historian Alice Friedman (Wellesley College), and photographer Randall Armor have identified and documented more than 50 sacred spaces in and around greater Boston. Sites include municipal buildings, shopping malls, military installations, schools and universities, health care organizations, prisons, mental health centers, cemeteries, senior living communities and rehabilitation centers. We are currently touring multiple exhibitions of these photographs and anticipate a book in the coming years.
This remarkable project provides a glimpse into the life and history of the city from a sacred edge and an appreciation for what these spaces offer, both literally and symbolically, to residents and visitors alike.
We pursue this project in memory of the late Karla Johnson, AIA, Principal, Johnson Roberts Associates who designed the Interfaith Center at Tufts University and who taught, through her buildings and her life, the importance of pause.
Boston's Hidden sacred Spaces is made possible through grants provided by Brandeis University and Wellesley College, and through the generous support of The Theodore and Jane Norman Fund For Faculty Research and Creative Projects.
Our traveling exhibition has been funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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