Playing and Preserving

Partners for Sacred Places



Church of the Holy Apostles and the Mediator in West Philadelphia. Photo by Joe Elliot.


Dancers of Brian Sanders JUNK rehearsing in the chapel of Shiloh Baptist Church. Photo by Ted Lieverman.


Shiloh Baptist Church in South Philadelphia. Photo by Joe Elliot.

Partners for Sacred Places’ interdisciplinary project Playing and Preserving will build artistic collaborations and civic energy around Philadelphia’s historic sacred places and their pipe organs. At the outset of the project, Partners will engage expert organ builders, organists, and Curtis Institute of Music students to survey 50 historic pipe organs in the Philadelphia area, assessing each instrument’s construction, age, and condition, along with capturing data on each congregation. The findings, including audio recordings of the pipe organs and photos of the sites, will be charted in a digital database available to the public. Partners will then select one of the sacred sites as a pilot space for community programming. In collaboration with Astral Artists, Partners will create performances and workshops that will integrate the history of the site and its surrounding community with live pipe organ music. Additionally, Partners will conduct a training program to help 10 congregations develop knowledge and skills for preserving their historic instruments.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.