ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Thomas Episcopal Church in St. Pete is hoping to give churchgoers an artistic experience.
“We’ve been talking about this obviously for months and when we finally got all the art hung and we opened our doors for the first Sunday service people came in and almost uniformly had the reaction of, ‘oh my gosh,’” said Father Ryan Whitley.
Father Ryan said it was an honor when artist Ludmila Pawlowska, originally from Kazakhstan, decided to choose his church as the latest stop on an international tour.
“All of this artwork that you see here is a part of her own spiritual transformation and healing,” said Father Ryan.
The exhibit, called Icons in Transformation, consists of 150 pieces, from the floor, walls and ceiling. Many of them feature religious tones.
Like many parishioners, Mary Jane Park said the exhibit brings an extra element to worshiping.
“I would call it mostly abstract expressionism, it’s not exactly literal, it’s not photographic,” said Park.
Father Ryan said he’s seen an increase in attendance.
“I think people are curious, people are wanting to know what it is like to see an art exhibit in a church,” said Father Ryan.
Every piece of art is for sale with 30 percent going back to church outreach programs. St. Thomas is hoping this is the beginning of something amazing.
“So what we’ll be looking for next is a local St. Petersburg artist who wants to display their art work in this space,” said Father Ryan.
The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 9, 2020. It is open to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.