Artist’s Statement  |  1st Congregational Church of Silverton, UCC

These six paintings are six parts of one work made specifically for this physical space, a church; for you, the people of this church; and for the people of this town.  Prior to the execution of the actual pieces I needed to consider the following:

  1. What was aesthetically right for the architectural setting?
  2. What was conceptually and spiritually right for this particular church and its people?
  3. What was the right visual connection with our sublime mountainous setting?

There is a double reason for the arch of the canvases:  it echoes architectural elements within the church and also echoes the vault of the sky.  

I have painted our valley.  The point of view is from the Shrine Road.  The landscape features roughly correspond with what is outside the church windows:  Boulder, just clouds, Galena, Kendall, Pigeon and Turk, going around the sanctuary.  But I limited the specificity of those particular landscape features and the amount of focus on them.  I did this because I wanted the emphasis on the clouds and sky and what they can suggest.  This is a church, so the spiritual realm is really the heart of the matter.

To think about God is to consider the inconsiderable, the not confinable, the unknowable.  If I dare deal with this subject I can only make suggestions or pointers.  I have used clouds and the color blue toward this end.  There is a Hebrew word, “makom” which means both place and God.  So in a way, place and God are equated or are the same.  These paintings are a celebration of a place of God.

Judith Graham
Silverton, Colorado  |  July 2009

The First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church of Silverton is one of the oldest Congregational Churches in the State of Colorado. It was established November 24, 1878 with  seven members of the community and has served the valley continuously ever since. Today they joyfully carry on the journey that was started those many years ago, offering open doors, open hearts, and open minds. The church’s congregation is progressive, hosting frequent guitar, piano and vibraphone music during its Sunday services as well as occasional liturgical dances. To learn more, please visit their website by clicking here.  

Ansel Adams Historic Photo

The First Congregational Church is no stranger to attracting creatives and visionaries. The prairie-style architecture of the church caught the eye of Ansel Adams, who photographed it in 1951. His iconic image of the small town and church was part of his Ansel Adams Portfolio VI collection. The acclaimed photo was later used by the church to help meet their restoration fund-raising goal.  To learn more, please visit his website by clicking here 


Press for Silverton Vaults

The installation of Silverton Caldera landscape and sky paintings was featured in the Durango Telegraph.  You can read the article by clicking here.