St. Joseph Calasanctius

St. Joseph Calasanctius, 1973, sgraffito, 18' x 12'
The Graycliff Estate, Derby, NY

Saint Calasanctius, who in 1597 opened Europe's first free school for poor children, was the founder of the Piarist Order. The sgraffito, which shows St. Calasanctius before a panoramic view of Rome surrounded by the children he sought to educate, was commissioned by the Piarist Fathers in 1967 to mark the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the Order. It is located on the side of a building the Fathers had built on the estate which they then owned. In 1998, the estate was bought by the Graycliff Conservancy, a grass-roots citizens organization which had as its goal the restoration of the principle builiding on the Estate, the summer house which famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright had built in 1924-27 for Mr. Darwin Martin, a Buffalo industrialist. The building to which the mural is attached, not being part of the original design and also not being sound, is scheduled ot be demolished in the summer of 2002. The Polish Arts Club of Buffalo is currently waging a fundraising campaing the goal of which is to remove the mural from the building, transport it to the Church of the Assumption in Buffalo, and to place in a glassed in vestibule where, following restoration, it will be on view 24 hrs a day 365 days of the year.