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Stained Glass at Eastern State Penitentiary

Something about old abandoned prisons and mental hospitals – really, any industrial building that begins to decay in that classic way, where the paint peels and the iron rusts and the concrete starts to fall off in big chips – makes you feel like you’re standing on the surface of the moon. Or like you’re invading someone else’s space. A lot of it is just a trick of the mind, coupled with a little sensory overload (and maybe the fact that a two-hundred-year-old prison, by all rights, should be haunted, whether you believe such a thing is possible or not) but, seriously, go take a tour of Eastern State Pen and then tell me that it’s a building bereft of ghosts, or vibes, or however you’d like to phrase it. One of the many terrific things about Eastern State, however, is that, rather than knock half the building down and put up condos, the preservation group behind it has kept it essentially intact, allowed it to decay naturally, and established an arts program, for contrast and illumination and because it’s cool beyond belief for an ancient prison to now be hosting things like, for instance, the new Judith Schaechter stained glass installation, “The Battle of Carnival and Lent and Other Works”, that debuts at Eastern State this month. (FULL ARTICLE: Roberta Fallon, Philadelphia Daily News)

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