St. John the Baptist

Chico, CA

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Chico, California was built in 1909 by Fr. Michael Gualco. At the time of its initial construction, he knew it was disproportionately large for the congregation, but anticipated growth and built a church that could be used for generations. 

The church was never highly decorated but had architectural integrity that would later inspire the renewal of the space. At some point, there was a renovation in which the historic furnishings were taken out of the church. The arches were lowered and converted into a blunt, squared-off ceiling and encased columns that disrupted the harmony of the original architecture.

After a century of nurturing the community within the walls of the original building, St. John the Baptist brought on EverGreene to implement the Liturgical Artistry program. Working closely with the St. John the Baptist design committee and PWC Architects we created a design program aimed to develop new, historically sympathetic artwork, the research component consisted of an examination of historic photos (with special attention to the historic pillars, side aisle ceilings), as opposed to an onsite investigation of historic finishes. 

The next step was the production design. Elements of plaster and those painted on canvas were made in our Brooklyn mural and plaster studios and installed in their new home. Decorative finishes are were also applied by hand onsite. The new program included the design and creation of furnishings; a reredos altar which was decoratively painted by EverGreene to look like marble, an altar of sacrifice, ambo, and side altars designed by EverGreene and fashioned by a local wood craftsman.

Now St. John’s possesses a harmonious liturgical artistry program that links the historic building with new artwork and furnishings, the long-awaited result of their community’s dedication to this church.