After four years of planning and building John XXIII Catholic Church opened its doors in 2004. The church decided a donor wall was needed to celebrate the community’s effort, acknowledge all the support given, and to inspire future donations. Our challenge was to create a donor recognition wall to fit the design of this new building and to showcase the church’s message. A take on the traditional donor tree.
Choosing the location for the donor wall was easy – a large front wall just as you enter the church with great lighting from the windows. Our next question was, what to design? Because the church has a new modern feel and very open floor design we didn’t want to just showcase traditional catholic symbolism on this donor wall. So we researched Pope John XXIII, who he was and what he did. The spark to our design for this donor wall came from his quote “throw open the windows of the church and let the fresh air of the spirit blow through”. So our concept was to use this quote and to create a sense of the spirit blowing into the church – a perfect message allowing for multiple interpretations and a great tie into John XXIII Catholic Church.
With all the while walls in the church the donor wall needed to have some contrast, so we brought the outside in. We designed a custom background of a fresh blue sky with wispy clouds and printed this to wall paper and installed it over the entire wall. We chose the leaf as the shape for the recognition name plates since it is the natural object to blow in the wind and it’s a common donor recognition symbol. The custom acrylic cut leaves were whimsically arranged to show the motion of wind, as if the fresh air of the Spirit was blowing in. The fall colors complement the blue sky and bring some warmth into the white space. Each leaf is individually applied to the wall paper. A legend was included to identify the three campaigns by the leaf color. The structure of the content was that two campaigns were already complete but the building campaign would continue for years to come. The design included 900 leaves and initially only 300 named. This donor recognition wall is routinely updated by adding names to the leaves that were intentionally left blank.
Now when entering John XXII Catholic Church the donor wall is an impactful first impression and while it grabs attention it also celebrates involement and it really gives people the feeling that they donated to something special.