Religious art and architecture are topic of talks, trolley tour

Staff report


Power of the Arts will present three talks on religious art and architecture, plus a trolley tour of several iconic churches in downtown Youngstown, in September.

The talks and the tour are free and are part of Arts Means Business, the annual series on arts development sponsored by POA, an arts and culture advocacy group for the Mahoning Valley. Registration is required, and the deadline is Sept. 5. Go to

“Religious art and architecture were critical to the Valley’s social fabric from the beginning,” said Karen Schubert, coordinator of POA. “But now, we don’t always know what we’re looking at, what it means, and how it connects with other stories.”

The talks will take place Sept. 14, 21 and 28 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave., and will include lunch catered by Cultivate Cafe, Kravitz Deli and K’nafa. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the one-hour talks will begin at noon.

The tour will take place Sept. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. and will leave from St. John’s. Stops will include Trinity Methodist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, Saints Cyril & Methodius Church and Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church. Other stops include the restored and repurposed Butler North and Noble Creature Cask House, both former churches.

The trolley tour is in conjunction with Silly Science Sunday at OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

Art historians Adam Sullivan and Mary Manning will lead the talks and the tour.

Sullivan will speak on Religious Art History on Sept. 14. Manning will speak on Curating Religious Art on Sept. 21 and Engaging Community Through Religious Art on Sept. 28.

The Rev. Gayle Catinella of St. John’s Episcopal Church said the talks are designed to appeal to a wide range of interests. “Of course, clergy, boards, administrators and members of faith communities will be interested, we think,” said Catinella, “Ecumenical Christianity, Judaism, Islam – all of the faiths have given us a rich legacy of artifacts. But also, students, teachers and other community members interested in history, art, architecture, development, historic preservation.”

“Maybe you are like me and want to go into every old church,” said Schubert. “But my fondest wish is to go in with a guide, to better understand what I’m looking at.”

Schubert noted that many Youngstown churches are deteriorating or slated for demolition due to dwindling population and new churches being built on the community’s edge. “Here is an opportunity to appreciate these important, gorgeous buildings while we can,” she said.

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