The Art of Immigration: Paintings by Donatus Buongiorno at Parish of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral




Image via

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry street will open its doors to The Art of Immigration: Paintings by Donatus Buongiorno this April.

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

His works are a window into the mind of a man who migrated to America in the late 1800s. His images express appreciation for the opportunity to make the U.S. his home, while also recalling memories of the people and landscapes of his native southern Italy.

The Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, built in the early 1900s at 113 Baxter Street when Italian families settled Lower Manhattan, contains 38 Buongiorno murals telling the stories of both spiritual salvation and of immigrants seeking a better life.

This exhibit displays samples of Buongiorno’s secular work, easel paintings from private collections—images that capture the same passion for human life seen in his inspirational murals at the church.

The beautiful interior of the historic Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

In related events, there will be gallery talks celebrating art and immigration throughout April and the beginning of May, as follows:

Fri, April 12, 6-8 pm: Janice Carapellucci—Italian American, finally.
Exhibit curator Carapellucci describes ten years of researching her great-granduncle Donatus Buongiorno and how she fell in love with New York as a research center, became a genealogist, visited southern Italy, and turned Italian American, finally.

Mon, April 22, 6-8 pm: Lou del Bianco—Luigi del Bianco, Italian-trained, immigrant carver of Mt. Rushmore.
In character and period costume as his grandfather, Luigi del Bianco, artist-performer Lou recounts Luigi’s unsung contribution as chief carver on our nation’s greatest memorial. Lou uses authentic photos, timelines and primary source documents to bring Luigi’s story to life, culminating with sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s praise of Luigi, the 25-year struggle to get Luigi recognized, and finally a plaque unveiled at Mount Rushmore! Lou’s book Out of Rushmore’s Shadow: The Luigi del Bianco Storyrecounts the dramatic and touching story of Luigi’s legacy and the immigrant struggle.

Weds, April 24, 6-8 pm: Paul Moses—“From Herod to Pilate”: How the Italian Community Built Most Precious Blood Church.
The author of An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015) recounts the ethnic rivalry and ecclesiastical infighting that accompanied plans to build a beautiful but expensive church on Baxter Street. Plans for Most Precious Blood Church became a lightning rod for tensions within the Catholic Church between the Irish and Italian immigrants. Book available here.

Mon, April 29, 6-8 pm: Mary Brown—Italian Immigrants Decorate Their Churches.
When Italian immigrants first came to the United States, they made their worship spaces their own by the art that they built up within those churches, sometimes over generations. Their story is also the story of Italian American artisans and entrepreneurs who designed churches and filled them with statues, banners, murals, and other examples of sacred art.

Thurs, May 2, 6-8 pm: Olga Nikolic-Litwin—Why Paintings Need Conservators.
Paintings often migrate far from where they were created and are damaged along the way.
Nikolic-Litwin, conservator of paintings and icons, will show some common changes on paintings and techniques for restoring, and will share how she collaborates closely with clients to create treatment plans for their artwork.

Sats, April 13, 27, May 4 & 11, 3-5 pm: Exhibit plus Tour of Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood,
meet at the Rectory Gallery.
View the exhibit with its producer and curator, then stroll down Mulberry Street through Little Italy to see the artist’s murals in the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, with stops for cannoli, of course.

“We gaze upon these pictures from a distance, measured by the passage of time, and find ourselves mystically connected to the people of this disappeared world. These fine paintings remind us of who we are and inspire us to see the world around ourselves as a beautiful place to live and work.”  —Msgr. Donald Sakano, Pastor

The Art of Immigration: Paintings by Donatus Buongiorno will be on view from April 11 through May 11, 2019, with Opening Reception on Thursday April 11th from 6-8pm, at the Rectory Gallery, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, 263 Mulberry Street, in Nolita.  All Events are Free and open to the public.

Check out St. Patrick’s annual “Lamb-Scaping” each September.