Before and After: Immaculate Conception in Rapid City, South Dakota

On August 20th the newly restored altar and sanctuary of Immaculate Conception in Rapid City were unveiled. We have written on this beautiful church before in a previous article. This precious diamond is the historic former cathedral of Rapid City. It is heartening to see these projects to restore old churches and enhance their beauty. Indeed, the soul craves beauty in religion. How correct Plato was when he said at the sight of beauty the human soul grows wings. Beauty inspires awe and raises minds to heavenly ascents.  

Restoration work has included the altars and floor

The project to restore the interior has been completed by our good friends at Canning Liturgical Arts. Through a process of onsite paint investigation performed in preparation for making recommendations for the restoration, original stencil patterns and colors on the walls and vault were revealed and subsequently restored. The original deep golden ochre palette has thus been enhanced. 

Before and after stencil work and color

The apse has been beautifully decorated in careful stencil work with a wondrous new mural that was commissioned to depict Our Lady, St. John the Baptist, and Isaiah. The main altar was also embellished while work continues on the other altars. Think of all the people who benefit from such a transformation. The experience of every visitor will be enhanced by an encounter with this fresh, new, other-worldly beauty.  

The restored sanctuary

The project has been divided into two phases. Phase 1 is the restoration of the sanctuary, including all three altars and new artwork on the walls. 

The chapel in the 1950s when it was a cathedral (note the throne)

Phase 2 consists in the completion of the decorative stencils and painting of the rest of the church. There will also be other works done on the property as well. 

Detail of sanctuary panel

It must be noted that art has the capacity to reveal spiritual realities to us. The artistic design of the interior by Canning compliments well the Classical Rite, giving a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. Hearts soar with the warm gold effect, set to match the windows. 

Gratitude must be expressed to the pastor of Immaculate Conception who has helped make this project a reality, after much patience planning. To donate to this worthy project, please click HERE.

Below are a few renderings by the liturgical arts designers of Canning. The complete restoration of a sacred space is a significant opportunity and responsibility for all involved, including the planning committees and contractors. The artisans of Canning are experts in the area of consulting on the preconstruction and design of sacred space restoration projects, including the process of developing renderings to bring the visual concept and color scheme to life for further development and eventual execution.

To learn more about the process, click here:


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