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William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects

 Collection
Identifier: RITArt-0020

Scope and Contents

William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects contains 12 ecclesiastical pieces created for RIT Campus Ministries. A walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, stool, 2 chairs and ark of the covenant for the Allen Memorial Chapel, and an oak altar, lectern, credence table, and processional cross for the Jones Memorial Chapel all reside in the Schmitt Interfaith Center on the RIT campus. As for his design, Keyser has stated, "Catholics prefer a cross with a corpus or what's known as a crucifix, while most Protestant denominations eliminate the body and prefer it to be just a cross, so I ended up designing the piece with a very abstract image so people can choose to see what they want to see - or not."1 The walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, 2 liturgist chairs were originally crafted for religious services in Ingle Auditorium prior to the creation of the Schmitt Interfaith Chapel.

An additional piece, Soaring Shelf, was at one time displayed in the RIT President's Office. This sculptural shelf measures some 18 feet long.

1 "William Keyser Crafts a New Direction," by Marcia Murphy. University Magazine, Winter 2009-2010.

Dates

  • circa 1970-1985

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

William Keyser Jr. graduated with an MFA in furniture design from RIT in 1961, and began teaching in the School for American Craftsmen (SAC) the following year. Numerous examples of Keyser's work can be seen on RIT's campus. Although he has been commissioned to design furniture for private homes, businesses, and public art installations, he is best known for his ecclesiastical pieces.

In 1970, three School for American Craftsmen faculty were commissioned by the RIT Women's Council to create furnishings used to transform Ingle Auditorium into a place of worship each weekend. William Keyser, Donald Bujnowski, and Hans Christensen contributed to this effort. Keyser created a walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, and ark of the covenant. These pieces, along with those by Bujnowski and Christensen, are now in the Schmitt Interfaith Center.

Keyser remained at SAC for the next 35 years until his retirement in 1997. He returned to RIT as a student and earned an MFA in painting in 2006.

Extent

10 Item(s) (1 sculptural shelf, 2 altars, 2 lecterns, 2 credence tables, 2 crosses, 1 ark of the covenant)

Language

English

Overview

William Keyser furniture contains 12 ecclesiastical pieces created for RIT Campus Ministries. There is 1 additional piece, Soaring Shelf, at one time displayed in the RIT President's Office.

Arrangement

The collection consists of 12 items.

Physical Location

RIT Art Collection
Building 16, Chapel

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number(s):

Altar pieces a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Harris and the RIT Women's Council.

Processional Cross a gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo F. Smith

Related Materials

Bibliography

  • William Keyser at Art on Campus, Rochester Institute of Technology

Dimensions

Pieces vary in size: 29.5 x 21.5 inches to 18 x 1 feet

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in August 2011.
Title
William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects
Subtitle
RIT Art Collection
Status
Published
Author
Amy Vilz
Date
28 August 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archive Collections Repository

Contact:
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623 USA
(585) 475-4613