Use Facebook and help the Basilica secure a grant for restoration

| September 23, 2011 | 0 Comments
Basilica of St. Mary

Basilica of St. Mary

If you have put off getting on Facebook, now is the time to jump on board and help the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis secure a grant to help restore the sacristy and narthex to its original beauty.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation opened voting Sept. 20 for Partners in Preservation, a community-based program that will bring $1 million in preservation grants to historic places in the Twin Cities. People who “Like” Partners in Preservation on Facebook can vote once per day through Oct. 12 for their favorite historic place.

The Basilica of St. Mary is one of 25 sites chosen to compete for a grant of up to $125,000, with the rest of the money to be distributed to the remaining sites based on recommendations from an advisory committee.

“If ever there is a time to get on Facebook to do something good, this is it,” said Emily Carlson Hjelm, development director for the basilica since 2005. “We have someone in our office who has resisted Facebook for years and years, and after all this time she said if there is ever a time to do it, it’s now.”

The basilica would use the money to completely restore the sanctuary and the narthex, which is the entrance to the basilica, she said.

People, candles take a toll

“Throughout our 100-plus years, the building has had its challenges,” Carlson Hjelm said.

“We’ve had candles in those spaces and hundreds of thousands of people through the doors, and the wear and tear on the building is evident from the plaster that is corroding on the walls and the ceiling of the sacristy and the narthex as well as the actual structural integrity of those spaces,” she said.

“The money would not only help make the spaces aesthetically beautiful but also repair the spaces so they are sound and safe.”

The restoration would also provide a glimpse into what the inside of the church could look like if it could be restored to its original splendor, she added. The sacristy-narthex work needs to be done and the grant would provide needed funding.

On Sept. 22, Carlson Hjelm said she was checking the Facebook page often because the basilica was neck and neck with its two fiercest competitors — the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand and the Swedish Institute.

“There is a lot of excitement early on and voting once is awesome, but this is not going to happen unless people get behind it and vote every day,” she said. “Whatever you have to do to remind yourself — incorporate it into your daily routine through Oct. 12.”

Setting up an account and voting is quick and easy, she said. “I’m sure everyone knows someone in their lives who can help them to sign up and cast their vote.”

The Basilica of St. Mary will host an open house with refreshments from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, to show visitors what needs to be done in the sacristy and the narthex, she said.

But don’t wait until then to “Like” the Partners in Preservation page and cast your vote each day for the Basilica of St. Mary, she said. “It’s your chance to make a difference.”

Visit Facebook and vote for the Basilica of St. Mary here: http://www.facebook.com/PartnersinPreservation

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Category: Local News