I've written about St. Matthew's here - St. Matthew's, (lack of) Passion? • Selling Jesus... • Disfiguration - Part II • Disfiguration?
This is a first. The City, with no fanfare - and below the radar of two of the East side's most vigilant housing activists - sells a Church for $3500 to an entity that is now - less than 30 days after receiving the deed to the property, Scott and David are selling St. Matthew's on Ebay. Call it deaccession, call it cultural rape and pillage. This is wrong. Really wrong...
When the assets are located at the Albright-Knox, everyone gets involved. When the assets are located on the abandoned and vacant steppes of the City's East side, NO one cares.
St. Matthew's downward spiral was hastened on April 6, 1998 when the Diocese of Buffalo sold the church to a poorly capitalized congregation. Its fate sealed by an over zealous City Hall willing to sell a signifacant portion of Buffalo's cultural and religious heritage for the price of a used Toyota. St. Matthew's should have been moth-balled.
Yesterday - back in the 90's, Transfiguration and St. Matthew's, were lost. Tomorrow - well, Bishop Kmiec is just getting ready to make the announcement about the latest church closings. Meanwhile he still lives at 79 Oakland Place, the Diocese still owns a vibrant - lovely terra cotta building at 785 Main Street and manages the mostly vacant - and desired devlopment spot just outside of East Aurora - here, Christ The King Seminary.
Seems to me that if the Bishop desired to return to the City and model the behavior necessary to turn the tide and fill the pews once again, he could. With three of the most desirable properties under his thumb (79 Oakland is one of the most expensive residences in the City, Main Street could fill a shortage of downtown class A office space and the seminary, well...) there are plenty of resources to shore up - and moth-ball - some of the most vibrant pieces of our cultural heritage here in the City.
Then again, what do I know? Flipping (off) Jesus is the latest chapter in Diocesan Deaccession. It's what happens on the urban prairie, the abandoned, forgotten and vacant steppes of Buffalo.
So it goes...
Artspace • BAVPA • Tour d'Neglect - 2007 • Woodlawn Row Houses • faq • my flickr
the creativity exchange • CEOs for Cities