Boston’s Hidden Sacred Spaces

August 29, 2017
Hidden Sacred Spaces
Boston's Hidden Sacred Spaces./ Photo courtesy of Randall Armor.

Beginning on April 24 and running through November 3rd, the Center will host an exhibit of photographs showcasing the hidden sacred spaces of the Boston area.  On May 9th, from 9:30AM-11:00AM, the Center will host a reception featuring the organizers briefly speaking about this project.  A collaboration between photographer Randall Armor, historian Alice Friedman, and sociologist Wendy Cadge, the project seeks to explore the sacred spaces of everyday life. Below, see their description of the project and photos of the exhibit in the Center's conference room:

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.

CSWR photo exhibit 1

View of the northwest angle of the conference room./All photos courtesy of Randall Armor.

CSWR photo exhibit 2

The southern wall of the conference room.

CSWR photo exhibit 3

The eastern wall, which showcases sacred spaces on the Harvard campus.

CSWR photo exhibit 4

The southeastern angle.

CSWR photo exhibit 5

The southeastern and eastern walls of the conference room.

CSWR photo exhibit 6

The northwest angle of the conference room.