What is Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places?

What started out as a simple question – is there interest among historic sacred places and arts organizations to partner in ways that benefit both groups? – developed into a pilot program in Philadelphia, and has now become an exciting in-depth program at Partners for Sacred Places. Our full-time Arts in Sacred Places director maintains Partners’ solid commitment to this worthwhile endeavor.

Inis Nua Theatre Company’s production of Dublin by Lamplight, staged at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Karl Seifert.

Working with interns from the University of Pennsylvania, Partners for Sacred Places conducted interviews and gathered pre-existing leases and price ranges from current well-established congregation/art group partnerships. Partners has since initiated pilot projects for this program with two Philadelphia congregations, Shiloh Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, acting as lead facilitator and resource provider for the congregations and interested arts organizations. Partners learned the specific ins and outs of negotiating sustainable, long-term leases between participating groups, including:

  • how to create baseline rental rates for congregations that fall within arts groups’ means
  • how to integrate an art group’s aesthetic into a church’s mission/look for mission alignment between artists and congregations
  • how religious doctrine relates to arts content
  • how to determine cost sharing of utilities and services (e.g. housekeeping, snow removal, refuse collection)
  • how to market and promote arts groups housed within a congregation’s walls

Although there is certainly more to the picture and more to be learned by all parties involved, the endgame is simple – Partners for Sacred Places used all the knowledge gained from its study report, the case studies, and the hands-on experience of the pilot programs to create the Arts in Sacred Places training workshops and a manual of best practices. All of these educational tools will be made available for religious and art communities throughout the country.

For over 20 years, Partners for Sacred Places has dedicated itself to the preservation and sound stewardship of older religious properties while also training congregations to look outside themselves for new opportunities and partnerships. In this way, congregations do more than just survive – they thrive. New collaborations can bring new life to these older institutions, providing additional income as well as valuable community resources.

Media Links

Curio Theatre Company performs the The Odyssey at Calvary United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Arts in Sacred Places: A Work In Progress

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To learn more:

What is Arts in Sacred Places?

How Does it Work?

Who Can Participate?

What are the Benefits?







Download the AiSP brochure.



If you have further questions, please contact Karen DiLossi, Director of the Arts in Sacred Places program: (215) 567-3234, x 16 or via email, kdilossi@sacredplaces.org