Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Mission Concepción’s plaza was packed with hundreds of people Friday night who came to watch the 262-year-old church come to life with moving, projected light that recreated the facade’s original designs and created dozens more new, vibrant designs set to music.
Restored By Light returned as a part of the second annual San Antonio World Heritage Festival.
Visitors began gathering on the lawn of the church around 6 p.m., eating from food trucks and listening to music played by the USAA band and chorus. Once night fell, the light show began and the mission was illuminated in geometric patterns of red, yellow, and black.
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Last year’s Restored By Light event was held at Mission San José. The light shows give viewers an opportunity to see what the missions would have looked like when they were originally erected centuries ago.
“It’s great because it both teaches the history of what the missions would have looked like originally, but it also is a great family-friendly community event that’s free and brings people out from all parts of the community,” said Shanon Shea Miller, director of the Office of Historic Preservation.
The city commissioned the architectural firm Ford, Powell & Carson to research and design renderings of the original church facades in order to present the most historically accurate representation possible.
The rendering is based off of a combination of Ernst Schuchard illustrations from the 1920’s and ’30s, said local designer Tobin Hays, who created the renderings of how the missions’ frescoes looked originally. Bo Mechinus with Freeman – a digital projection events company – aligned it to the building and designed the artistic animantions, she said. Ford Powell and Carson performed the paint and plaster analysis for the Catholic Archdiocese.
The event will not only continue into a fourth year in 2018, but will expand. Fr. David Garcia is currently raising funds for repairs and restoration efforts at the church through Las Misiones, an organization that raises money to maintain and restore the four parish churches operating within four of the five missions – excluding the Alamo.
“We’re working on a plan in 2018 for the Tricentennial to do Restored By Light at all four of the southern missions over the course of the fall,” Miller told the Rivard Report on Friday.
Other World Heritage Festival events happening this weekend include the Tour De Las Misiones Bike Ride, 5k, and 10k walk, the Mission Pachanga, and the Celebratory Mass.
A full list of events may be found here.