Redressing the past of glass

Using art as a guide into an unseeable future.

The Washington National Cathedral is the 6th largest cathedral in the world. It is also home to a lot of stained glass.

Not all of it's glass art is however biblical - some of it, when viewed objectively in 2023, was frankly divisive.

One artist, Kerry James Marshall was invite to reimagine some of the stained glass art in the church to serve a new purpose - a positive image of the future rather than a testament to atrocities from the past.

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Amidst the grand architecture and intricate stained glass of the Washington National Cathedral, artist Kerry James Marshall stands before an audience gathered for the unveiling of his new work “Now and Forever.” The stained glass windows the artist designed were commissioned to replace the Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson windows that were removed from the Cathedral in 2017. As Marshall addresses the crowd seated in the church pews, he reflects on his long career making images and the power of art to “invite us to imagine oneself as a subject and an author of a neverending story that is still yet to be told.”

In this short Art21 film - called "Now and Forever" the story and the idea behind the new artworks is told

Art has the power to help society recalibrate its collective image of the future.

Right now there is a proper need for work that does the job of helping us see a positive future that works for all, which is why projects like this one are so important. The Washington National Cathedral obviously sees itself playing an important role in that regard.

Press Release: Art21 to Release final film of 2023 “Kerry James Marshall: ‘Now and Forever’” — Art21
Art21 is proud to announce the premiere of a new film: “Kerry James Marshall: ‘Now and Forever’” premiering Wednesday, December 6th at 12:00pm ET on and YouTube.
A New Film Documents Kerry James Marshall’s Dynamic Stained Glass Windows for the Washington National Cathedral — Colossal
A new short film documents Kerry James Marshall’s creation of two stained glass windows for the Washington National Cathedral.
Home - Washington National Cathedral
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