Now Open: The Skyspace At Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting By World-Renowned Contemporary American Light Artist James Turrell

The brand-new exterior of the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, which houses a Skyspace created by light artist James Turrell. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting)

With more than 30 installations around the world, James Turrell’s Skyspaces bring the study of light and space to such renowned institutions as The Museum of Modern Art’s PS. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the National Gallery of Australia.

Now, the Philadelphia area is home to a Turrell Skyspace, too, with the opening of the Skyspace at Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting this month.

Part of a newly constructed meetinghouse for the Chestnut Hill Quaker community, the minimalist structure was designed with Quaker architecture in mind by local architect James Bradberry, who worked in conjunction with Turrell to install the Skyspace.

A life-long Quaker, Turrell’s new Skyspace was donated to the meetinghouse by the artist as a place for silent reflection and meditation. And though housed in a place of worship, note that the permanent art installation is not considered a religious piece. One and all are welcomed to visit and take in the space, which is a room with an aperture in the ceiling through which visitors can contemplate the sky.

The Skyspace is most dramatic at dawn and dusk, and will be open to the public at designated times throughout the year.

To celebrate the opening of the meetinghouse to the public this month, the Skyspace will be opened at sunrise and sunset every day through October 26.

Each day this week, through October 26, the Skyspace will be open every morning and evening for sunrise and sunset viewings. Sunset viewings begin at sunset, which is currently at approximately 6:15 p.m., and last for 50 minutes.

For early risers, sunrise viewings begin 50 minutes before sunrise, around 6:30 a.m., and end with the 7:15 a.m. sunrise. Visitors are encouraged to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to settle in for this meditative experience.

Visitors are also welcome to bring yoga mats or cushions to lie or sit on the floor.

Beyond the opening celebrations, those interested in taking in the installation can experience the space throughout 2013 on Tuesday and Sunday evenings at sunset, or Tuesday and Thursday mornings 50 minutes before sunrise.

Though the Skyspace is completely free to experience, visitors should RSVP online to attend a sunset gathering due to limited seating.

James Turrell Skyspace
When: Through October 26
Where: Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, 20 East Mermaid Lane, Chestnut Hill
Cost: Free; RSVP requested for sunset viewings
More info: www.chestnuthillskyspace.org

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