The Foundation for the Preservation of 20 Arlington Street
Mission of the Foundation
The Foundation for the Preservation of 20 Arlington Street, Inc. was created as a non-sectarian 501(c)(3) in 2016 to restore the Church’s landmark building and share its historic and artistic legacy with the public.
Foremost among the The Church’s hallmarks is a unique series of opalescent stained glass windows by the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany that will be used to foster an understanding of Boston’s innovative and cultural prominence in this country’s history.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors’ members are drawn from all backgrounds, united in their strong commitment to the Foundation’s goals:
- Restoration of Tiffany windows
- Preservation of the building
- Establishment of a self-supporting visitor center
- Community outreach partnering with other city-wide Tiffany installations
The Tiffany Window Restoration Project
Among the Arlington Street Church’s greatest treasures is a series of sixteen memorial windows of opalescent stained glass- a uniquely American artistic phenomenon that was simultaneously developed by John La Farge and Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1880 as a way of “painting with glass." The Church’s series is unrivaled in many ways.
• Created by Frederick Wilson, the chief designer for Tiffany ecclesiastical windows
• Among the Church’s holdings is Wilson’s original set of watercolor illustrations
• Church represents Tiffany studios’ longest enduring client relationship (1898-1930)
• The series is the only example of a united narrative program
• Makes use of all the opalescent techniques practiced by Tiffany’s studios
• Memorializes notable Boston Gilded Age community members recognized for their philanthropic work
In 2015, Arlington Street Church raised over $120K from a direct plea to the community and then commissioned Serpentino Stained & Leaded Glass, Inc. to restore its stained glass windows.
The Building Restoration
Built in 1861 by Arthur Gilman first public structure in Back Bay area. Engineers and historic landmark conservators have prioritized several projects to restore the building.
- Much-needed repairs to the exterior structure and grounds of the Church
- Parking area requires repaving
- Brownstone is damaged with fissures and discoloration
- Repainting needed of architectural features
- Landscaping of entire grounds
Educational and Public Programs
With the opening of Arlington Street Church to the public, the Foundation intends to present a series of educational and public programming that will recreate Boston at the time of the windows’ creation, mainly the American Renaissance (circa 1875-1917) and Boston’s great Gilded Age.
- Docent tours
- An illustrated self-guided tour with translations in several foreign languages
- An audio tour for online and in person narrative and viewing
- Concerts featuring the music popular in Boston during its Gilded Age
- Exhibitions on such themes as “The Women of Tiffany," “Fashion and Manners at the Time of Tiffany," “Boston and Asia,” and “The History of the Arlington Street Church and its Celebrated Members”
- A hands-on display tracing the steps of the opalescent glass window process
- A city-wide collaboration with other churches housing stained glass window series