OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — The pandemic’s impact on the food and retail industry is devastating, but another less-talked about sector of society that’s taken a hit is the arts.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory shows us one way to support two groups from the comfort of your couch.
The song and dance of life may consume us, but take note: inside Oak Park’s Unity Temple, time stands still.
“It immediately gives you a sense of, I think, calm and serenity,” said Heidi Ruehle, executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.
Details in the 1908 creation reveal themselves the longer you stare; from geometric shapes to lines that draw the eyes upwards.
Ruehle said architect Frank Lloyd Wright “uses this yellow palette to really brighten up the space,” and was intentional in his window placement to block sound from the outside.
“Rather than the traditional stained glass windows low down where the congregation sits, instead they’re up high. So it brings in lots of lights, and shadows, and reflections,” she said.
It’s quite literally a wonder, joining the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.
“In 2019, Unity Temple was one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to receive a UNESCO World Heritage designation,” Ruehle said.
Unfortunately, those international accolades can’t compete with a global virus. Doors are closed to the public. Music is the only way in right now.
“We’re able to play together with some distancing and masks,” said Avalon String Quartet violinist Blaise Magniere.
The quartet is one a few groups granted access to the architecture. Online viewers can catch their performance and a glimpse inside Unity Temple on Saturday night.
The gig is a godsend during a pandemic.
“The effects on our little corner of the economic world have just been completely devastating for friends and colleagues of ours,” Avalon String Quartet viola player Tony Devroye said.
“Even being able to do something in person, and still connect through music, is just, feel very fortunate,” cellist Cheng-Hou Lee said.
Money made through the virtual concert benefits the performers and the building’s preservation; a symbiotic relationship of strings and structure.
Add Brad Pitt’s name to the famous folks associated with Unity Temple. The actor narrated a documentary about the Oak Park building’s $25 million restoration. The documentary is available online through Nov. 15 at unitytemplefilm.com.