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A Hidden Treasure Close to Home

August 16, 2014

Sometimes you never realize the treasures you have close to home. The St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center certainly qualifies.

Woonsocket is a city in northern Rhode Island settled largely by French-Canadians and with an industrial history related to textiles. In 1913, the St. Ann’s church complex was built to serve the French-Canadian community, largely through the small donations of the working class churchgoers.

What makes this church so special is that they commissioned the famous Canadian painter and designer Guido Nincheri to decorate the church. He did frescoes and stained glass for buildings throughout Canada and North America, including the Boston Opera House. When he was done, what he left was the largest collection of fresco paintings in North America.

Many of the people in the frescoes are based on members of the church parish at the time. The three devils in the first photo are based on three particularly difficult boys in the church school!







The church was decommissioned in 2000 and reopened as the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center. It is open for tours on Sunday only. We only heard about it from an article in a local newspaper.

All the pictures were taken with my Sony DSC RX-100 and edited in LR. I’ve been very happy with the low light performance of that camera.



From → Photography

  1. Beautiful photos of an extraordinary building.


    • Thanks! I have to say I was very pleased with the low light performance of my Sony.


  2. The ceilings at least, ensure that the parishioner’s eyes are directed towards Heaven!


    • There is an Adam and Eve as part of the frescoes, and that was quite a hit with the schoolboys when it first appeared. They told a story of the boys making sure they had very well polished shoes so they could see the reflection!


      • That’s the sort of detail that NEEDS to be out there! Keep up the good work!


  3. Well done! The opulence of their heritage comes through loud and clear. Brings back memories of churches I toured while visiting Montreal.


  4. You really did a super job with that camera…the beautiful details of this former church are really evident. I would enjoy visiting this place…


  5. Hi Andy,

    I’m creating a new nonprofit organization centered around exploring the treasures of Rhode Island, and was hoping to use one of these photos in a promotional video that I’m creating next week to launch this new program. Of course St. Anne’s is one of the best examples of a treasure in RI. Can you share a high res version of a couple of your horizontal photos for the video? Of course I’d be happy to give you credit. My email is Please contact me so that I can provide you with some more information.




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