Monday, May 27, 2013

Mosaics Inside and Out at WestA

The West Angeles Church of God in Christ sits at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards in Los Angeles--and it is full of mosaics.

Construction began on the Karelian granite building in 1999, and the first service there took place in 2001. The church--as in congregation--is much older than that, though. WestA's website says it was founded in a storefront on Vermont in 1943, by C. E. Church, Sr. Well, what else could he have done with such a name?

The West Angeles Church moved to West Adams in the 1950s.  Pastor Charles E. Blake took it over after Church's death in 1969; at the time it had 50 members and most of them didn't want Blake as their pastor.

Today, the congregation numbers 22,000, all Blake supporters. According to The Hollywood ReporterStevie Wonder and and Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Magic Johnson, and Denzel Washington (the last two contributed $5 million to build the Crenshaw-and-Exposition structure) are among them.

The church first moved to what is today called the North Campus in 1981--it has a beautiful mosaic out front too, as you can see at right. The North Campus is at 3045 Crenshaw, just two blocks away from the main building.

Monika Scharff of Scharff and Scharff designed the mosaic on the North Campus, and she later did the interior mosaic for the new church (below).

The church kept growing and expanding. The current building cost $60 million to erect, seats 5,000 people, and has a 5-level parking garage, according to one source.

Inside the new church is a stunning mosaic made up of 700,000 pieces of stained glass. Again, it was designed by Monika Scharff.

You can see more examples of her work here, . . . I just realized she also did the gold-and-red mosaic cross of St. Peters By the Sea, a Palos Verdes church that I blogged about in 2011. Scharff's website shows the cross before it was mounted in from of stained glass windows, but it's definitely the same cross. I'm guessing she did not have anything to do with the windows, though.

I hope she does not mind that I copied one of her own pictures of the mosaic.

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