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Want to help create San Francisco's "Canticle of the Sun'?

Want to help create San Francisco's "Canticle of the Sun'?

Not every day does an artist with a team of volunteer helpers get a chance to walk into an abandoned building and transform it into a "celebrational environment.' But that's what Los Angeles artist Tony Duquette has come to San Francisco to do--and he's enlisting more co-creators.

Recently purchased by the Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts, an unused synagogue on Geary Boulevard is the site of the project. Duquette and his staff are hard at work turning the structure, inside and out, into a nonsectarian meditation on The Cantile of the Sun, by St. Francis of Assisi. Their artistry is everywhere --from hand-laid marble staircases to glittering murals.

The Canticle gives thanks for "Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and Mother Earth.' Duquette bases his interpretive artworks on fours: four races of man (all equal under masks of different colors), four physical elements (earth, air, fire, and water), four seasons, four components of the universe (earth, sun, moon, stairs), and four divisions of living creatures (animals, insects, fish, birds).

In his home town of Los Angeles--City of Our Lady Queen of the Angels--Duquette developed a "fantasy realm of angels,' working over a two-year period with area volunteers who stitched, glued, and painted designs under his supervision. The result is a shimmering series of large-scale tapestries and sculptures, completed in 1981.

The artist is now looking for more San Francisco--area helpers to assist with the mosaics, tapestries, and sculptures of the Cantile project. Working with Duquette, you can help create a group of artworks that will be on permanent display in the building. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcomed. Tasks range from gluing beads and feathers to constructing sculpture frames. If you can thread a needle, you can be of use here.

For details on getting involved, call (415) 563-7341 or write to the Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts, 1839 Geary Blvd., San Francisco 94115. The volunteer project, to be started June 25, will continue until all the pieces are complete --probably in about a year. You can volunteer for a day, a week, or for a few days every month.

The foundation hopes to open the building to the public as a permanent exhibition hall by next October.

Photo: Model of finished interior shows angel figures (created in Los Angeles) on a balcony. Main level will house the St. Francis works

Photo: One of four masks set into stained-glass windows, this represents the Oriental peoples

Photo: You enter through door covered in light-catching, iridescent pieces of abalone shell

Photo: Streetfront gives a glimpse of what's to come inside: mirrored sunburst shines above four masks
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1986
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