The towering spaces of cathedrals throughout history have been places of public worship and artistic grandeur, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is no exception.Besides the Cathedral’s impressive permanent art installations such as the “Communion of Saints” interior wall tapestries and the exterior Statue of Our Lady of the Angels above the Cathedral’s Great Bronze Doors, there have been 21 non-permanent, spiritually-themed fine arts exhibits in the side chapels designed for temporary displays. These chapels have also hosted religious historical exhibits, such as an ongoing exhibit honoring Pope John Paul II and an exhibit of the Relics of the Mexican Martyrs displayed in mid-May.And as for music in the Cathedral over the last decade, in addition to weekly organ recitals by resident organist Sal Soria and other visiting organists, and liturgical music provided by the 60-member Cathedral choir and the 40-member El Coro de Catedral (Spanish) choir, there have been 74 concerts from such prestigious groups as LA Opera, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Symphony and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. “We’ve been fortunate to have these events come our way; these interesting groups want to share our space,” said Soria. “The Cathedral’s 3.3 million cubic feet of space lends itself to this sort of thing — the way Cathedrals were intended to be used.”“It’s wonderful that the Cathedral’s doors are open to art, as they have been historically,” said Gayle Garner Roski, chair of the Cathedral’s fine arts committee. “People are touched by the arts. If we offer people good art and music, we offer joy.”The majority of the Cathedral’s non-permanent exhibits have been by local professional artists, including the current exhibit of serigraphs and paintings by LA native artist John August Swanson. The next show will be paintings by contemporary American artist Peter Adams, who has been commissioned by the University of Southern California Catholic Center to produce paintings to be used as their Stations of the Cross. Once a year, there is a student art exhibit from local Catholic high schools. “Thousands of people go through the Cathedral every week,” noted Roski. “They really look at and read what is on the walls.”She says the fine arts committee receives a lot of requests from artists to exhibit at the Cathedral and reviews every single request. Committee members — artists, art educators and curators from interfaith backgrounds — look for spiritually uplifting exhibits that will touch parishioners and visitors.Some of the exhibits sponsored by the Cathedral’s fine arts committee through the years have included “Las Apariciones de Guadalupe,” (Nov-Dec. 15, 2003); “Seeing the Soul of L.A. in its Streets: Paintings and Stories by J. Michael Walker,” (Nov. 1, 2008- April 12, 2009); “Corita: Serigraphs & Watercolors 1951-1985” (Sept.’09-April 2010); “Lalo Garcia: Passion of Our Lord Series” (March 9-April 24, 2011); and the Annual Robert Graham Student Art Exhibit (March 11-May 12, 2012). “We try to do all kinds of different things,” explained Roski. She noted that the fine arts committee is hoping to collaborate on a future exhibit with neighboring arts institutions and museums on Grand Avenue.“Two-thirds of the music events we do are some kind of collaboration,” said Frank Brownstead, director of music at the Cathedral. “The idea is for the collaboration to be mutually beneficial.”Every February for the last six years, the Cathedral and the Fred Bock Institute of Music have collaborated to produce the “Festival of Worship,” where a 1,000-voice ecumenical choir sings a variety of Christian genres of music in the context of a worship service accompanied by instrumentalists, including Sal Soria on the Cathedral organ. This year’s “In Faith, In Hope” concert on Feb. 12 included hymns from times past as well as the modern hymns of Keith and Kristyn Getty. Another fruitful collaboration for five years has been the annual LA Opera spring production at the Cathedral, conducted by Maestro James Conlon, LA Opera’s music director. The free community performances, which over the years have included productions of “Noye’s Fludde,” “Judas Maccabaeus,” “The Festival Play of Daniel,” and this past spring’s “Jonah’s Faith,” include singers, (Cathedral Choir and other parish choirs members in an ensemble choir among them) actors and orchestra members from the community performing alongside professional singers and orchestra members from LA Opera.While the Cathedral’s 3,000-seat capacity is a draw for community performances and events, its massive pipe organ with 105 stops and a total of 6,019 pipes (including vintage pipes from the organ in the old Cathedral of St. Vibiana) is also much sought-after for organ recitals. The recent July 19-20 concert by organist Christopher Houlihan of the Vierne Symphonies on the Cathedral organ drew a rave review from the Los Angeles Times. “Part of getting together with ‘all peoples’ (“A House of Prayer for all Peoples” is inscribed on the Cathedral’s cornerstone) is the sharing of great art, which points to the transcendent,” said Brownstead. “It’s one way we can sense without words what is beyond us as individuals.” {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0831/art/{/gallery}