Bay Area artist brings high flying, first of its kind exhibit to SF's Grace Cathedral

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area artist is bringing a first-of-its-kind exhibit to a San Francisco landmark, showcasing Grace Cathedral in a way we have never seen before.

It's not uncommon to look up when you're in Grace Cathedral. But what is uncommon is seeing something a 70-foot pendulum swinging from the pews to the pulpit when you do. It's all part of a new performance installation called "Love, A State of Grace."

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"It's a series of reflections on love that are informed by our personal experience, community sharing, research, and certainly the times we find ourselves in," says Joanna Haigood, the installation's artistic director.

When Haigood first started the project, we were in a time of violence at sacred spaces -- deadly shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburg, and a Black church in Charleston. But then COVID happened, and racial disparities and police violence were front and center.

"By the time George Floyd happened, I think I just had a huge something cracked open in me," Haigood says. "And I was really suffering, like so many of us from what I think is ancestral grief."

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That fueled Haigood's decision to expand the focus of her project. Now, "Love A State of Grace," is a place for people to find balance through four elements: The 70-foot swing, with its drop representing the act of surrendering to love, a 100-foot ladder, a reminder that love is an action that can sometimes be scary and hard. And a tower that dancers like aerialist and Bay Area native Veronica Blair rise to.

"The scenery, the amazing beauty of this building, just is very calming and it helps to ground me every step of the way," Blair says.

Blair's goal is to provide a performance that is human and real.

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"There's a lot that we as people as a country have been through," Blair says. "And so I feel like it's my responsibility within this performance to be 100% authentic."

The final element is a series of meditations, all four designed to give people a chance to engage and reflect, finding balance in a beautiful landmark, inspiration to find balance in our lives.

"Love, A State of Grace" is a four-day performance installation between Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.

You can find tickets here.

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