Marble Collegiate Church, New York, NY
Stained glass program — developed a concise commissioning process for artist evaluation and selection, glass fabrication and installation. Rambusch delivered more than physical bench talents to the full breadth of this twenty-first century stained glass program, devising a fair process to commission three artists, as well as bringing an innate ability to help the client consider, refine and then balance its own visual and verbal goals for a concise and successful artistic collaboration.
For the last fifteen years, the Rambusch Decorating Company has been assisting Marble Collegiate Church with its stained glass program. Marble Collegiate’s first congregation was organized in 1628 and the current edifice, dedicated in 1854, has been designated a New York City Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Rambusch's role has been to assist with thematic development and refinement, the artist selection process and to fabricate a stained glass window program in the worship space, culminating in the “Welcoming Christ” window in the Church's Fifth Avenue facade.
On behalf of Dr. Arthur Caliandro, Senior Minister, and the Marble Church community, Dr. Edwin G. Mulder approached The Rambusch Decorating Company to help guide the community in creating a structure for artists to be considered for working with Rambusch in the design and fabrication of the figurative leaded glass windows in the Sanctuary.
Martin Rambusch organized and led this process, which commenced with a succession of meetings to clarify and refine the window’s messages and themes. Members of the Church Board, ministers and members of various committees gathered to review how other churches handled their stained glass artist selection process, and to discuss what might be best for Marble. The historic nature of this 1854 building, with its many intact original elements and existing Tiffany windows was an overarching consideration. Rambusch presented a synthesis of the groups’ agreed-upon values, which then refined, confirmed and clarified Marble's vision for its windows.
Themes, stories and parables were next chosen for each location, with a single story or parable above the balcony and a second one below. This echoes the arrangement of Marble's wonderfully successful Tiffany windows. Following the finalization of themes and an overarching vision statement, Rambusch coordinated a national call for artists.
Phase One was to gather and evaluate the submissions, including artist CV’s and examples of their previous work. This narrowed down the long list of respondents to a manageable number; these artists were then asked to create a sketch and provide a work proposal. The “Nativity” window was the first to be created by selected artist, Sarah Hall.
Sarah was commissioned shortly thereafter for a second window, “Peaceable Kingdom.” After completing these two windows, the committee felt that the work of another artist would create a coordinated quilt of contrasting difference though cohesive style. This next artist commissioned was Deborah Coombs, and Rambusch was pleased to support her work by serving as fabricator and installer of these two Coombs windows: “Stilling of the Storm” and “Sermon on the Mount.”
After a brief respite, Marble again approached Rambusch to suggest a stained glass artist for the next window series. Rambusch suggested Nikki Vogt, one of its former employees now on her own as an independent artist. A joint venture took place for two-windows: "Good Samaritan" and "Prodigal Son,” with Nikki designing and painting, and Rambusch fabricating and installing.
While these were being completed, Kenneth Crocker was commissioned for the “Creation” window. The success of the Rambusch – Vogt collaboration led to an opportunity for Rambusch and Nikki to create a third window together for the Marble Collegiate’s Fifth Avenue facade. With great enthusiasm and appreciation for this historic commission, Rambusch and Vogt again embarked on a highly successful collaboration for the “Welcoming Christ” window, installed at this prominent location. In and of itself, this magnificent window creates a powerful experience, even more so when lit at night.
As is often the case, Rambusch delivered much more than physical bench talents to the twenty-first century stained glass program at Marble Collegiate Church. Rambusch brought its deep knowledge, extensive experience and a proven ability to devise a fair process to commission artists, as well as an innate ability to help the client consider, refine and then balance its own visual and verbal goals for a concise and successful artistic collaboration.
Perhaps Rambusch could bring its talents and experience to a project for you?