Illumination of Grace

Modern lighting highlights the spooky beauty of Grace Church Cemetery.

In its more than 150 years, Grace Church Cemetery has served as the final resting place for more than 8,500 people, including dignitaries such as former Rhode Island Governor Nehemiah Knight and Bishop John P.K. Henshaw. 

In recent years, though, the nine-acre parcel at the intersection of Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue has had problems with maintenance, and the property was named to the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Property List for 2014

Recently the property got an infusion of energy from a lighting installation project by RISD students called Southlight. The effort was led by Elettra Bordonaro, who co-founded the Social Light Movement, an international organization that works to improve lighting in disadvantaged communities. The students, from the architecture, furniture and industrial design departments, worked with entities as varied as Grace Church, National Grid, Stop Wasting Abandoned Property (SWAP) and Amos House to pull the project together. 

The lights show an eerie beauty that endures: