PJ and I would like to introduce the Via Lucis community to American Friends of Chartres (AFC). We have worked with the organization for two years now. They have made it possible for us to have unfettered photographic access to the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres and to document the remarkable restoration that is taking place there. In addition, last fall I was asked to serve as an advisor.
AFC is an American non-profit organization created in 2005 to assist in the restoration and preservation of the cathedral in Chartres, a historic site of unparalleled artistic, intellectual and spiritual influence on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. AFC’s mission is also to foster public appreciation of this paragon of medieval art and architecture and of its treasured stained glass windows. AFC works in tandem with the French organization, Chartres, Sanctuaire du Monde, which raises funds from private individuals in France, and which is headed up by the extraordinary Servane de Layre Mathéus.
One of the most important things about AFC has been our experience with the people who run the organization. The President is Monika Riely, who was recently awarded the designation Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the Minister of Culture of France for her work in founding AFC and raising resources to finance restoration works. The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres honors individuals for their “significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural heritage.”
We also work very closely with the new Executive Director Anne Sullivan and with Board members Pierre-Louis Roederer, Kai Chan, Dominque Lallement, and Damien Balsan. The efforts of this group secured gifts of approximately €100,000 ($140,000) so far for the Project 1 restoration, the south transept lancet windows. As soon as Project 1 is complete (about $25,000 remains to be raised) AFC will fund Project 2, the restoration of a set of windows on the south side of the nave.
AFC’s next public activity will be hosting a lecture by Paul Crossley, Professor Emeritus of the Courtauld Institute, London University. Here is an excerpt from the press release:
“The American Friends of Chartres, the Standing Committee of Medieval Studies of Harvard University and the patronage of the Consul General of France in Boston, invite you to a lecture by Paul Crossley, Professor Emeritus of the Courtauld Institute of Art of London University on “Chartres and the Rhetoric of Gothic Cathedrals”, Tuesday March 12, 2013 at 5:30pm, at the Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachussetts. The lecture will be preceded by a short presentation of American Friends of Chartres activities and projects and a photographic presentation by Art Sacré Photographers, Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey of Via Lucis Photography.”
PJ and I will be presenting some of our Chartres photographs as part of the presentation and welcome any of our friends and colleagues who are in the Boston area to attend.
We ask that you visit the AFC website* and then take a moment go the the AFC Facebook page and “Like” them. If you have a blog of your own and are interested, please reblog this article or add one of your own. Join us in being a part of such a remarkable preservation and restoration project.
*Please note that AFC has a new mailing address which has not yet been updated on the website.
American Friends of Chartres
P.O. Box 40105
Washington, DC 20016