Valley High grad sells St. Vladimir’s Church artwork to help rebuild the church

Graphic designer Shane Henderson has long admired the intricate architecture of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Arnold.

Even as a child, growing up in New Kensington, before developing an eye for art, he recognized the artistic talent of the church.

“I always thought St. Vlad was such a cool and beautiful building,” he said.

The church was destroyed by a fire in December that left the sanctuary in rubble and caused more than $4 million in damage.

Henderson, 36, a graduate of Valley High School who now lives in Lower Burrell, uses his art to help with reconstruction efforts. He designed an illustration of the 1947 church building, which is available in two sizes: 5½ x 8½ inches for $5 and 12½ x 19 inches for $30.

Henderson’s prints are available online at buildingsbyshane.com and at brick-and-mortar stores that include Modfinish, 1013 Fifth Ave., New Kensington; Love, Pittsburgh, 805 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh; and the gift shop at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 221 North Main St., Greensburg.

Printed on 50% recycled Mohawk Loop Antique vellum, the artwork depicts the front steps of the church with its two spiers rising into the sky on both sides. A bold cross contrasts against a dark sky.

“I just want to help them find money to rebuild,” said Henderson, who trained at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and La Roche University.

“I grew up going to St. Pete’s,” he said, referring to Mt. St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in New Kensington. “I never had any experience with St. Vlad until I heard about the fire, but I want to help.”

Henderson’s fundraiser will complement a church-led online campaign at donationbox.org/stvlads.

The Reverend Yaroslav Koval, pastor of the church, said his congregation is an example of rebirth.

Church leaders met with architects to review initial plans to rebuild the city’s only Catholic church. Oakland-based architect Walter Boykowycz is working on plans that will be unveiled in the coming months.

Plans reflect a smaller church that can accommodate up to 100 people, about a quarter of the size of the current church.

St. Vladimir’s Parish was founded in 1894, with the original church built in 1911 along Third Avenue. The present church, school building and social hall along Kenneth Avenue date from the 1940s.

Services continue at 11 a.m. each Sunday in the social hall, where relics rescued from the burning shrine are displayed for display on bingo tables.

Parishioner Julie Martin said the artwork is more than a keepsake.

“It’s a church that the parishioners built with their own hands and raised funds for,” Martin said. “It’s a tribute to those people, our ancestors.”

Martin said the church holds memories for people who now live across the country.

“I hope this piece of art can connect them at home,” she said.

Henderson said the response to his art fundraiser has been positive.

He previously worked on similar campaigns for the National Negro Opera House in Homewood and the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp.

In March 2016, Henderson began creating building designs in his hometown.

Influenced by art deco and flat design, Henderson said St. Vladimir has always impressed him.

“It stands out from all the other churches in the area,” he said. “After the fire, I wanted to play a small role in helping them restore.”

Tawnya Panizzi is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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