The La Farge Restoration Fund sponsored several studies of the church building and the La Farge interior art prior to restoration. In addition, in the early 2000’s, the Fund partnered with Preserve Rhode Island to host a first Rhode Island church restoration training by Partners for Sacred Places, an experienced nonprofit from Philadelphia. The key strategic actions which have resulted included the application for National Historic Landmark status, the transfer of the properties from the congregation to a stewardship nonprofit—the La Farge Restoration Fund—and bricks and mortar projects which help to secure the building’s envelope for the eventual restoration of the La Farge windows and interior painted surfaces.
1) A Phillips study (1986) of the painted surfaces by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now called Historic New England.
2) An in-depth evaluation of the placement and condition of the John La Farge windows (1998), by JLSloan Consultants in Stained Glass.
3) A Basic Conditions Report (2010), which found the main church building to be structurally sound, by Northeast Collaborative Architects; including an engineering evaluation of the exterior brownstone, structural integrity and building systems by Structures North.
4) A study of painted surfaces (2013-14), including new reveals in the sanctuary; Canning Studios.
In 2011-2012, the project was designed, then placed before the Newport Historic Review Commission for its review and its approval. The following year, the La Farge Restoration Fund received grants from the Alletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation to complete a restoration of the 150-year old slate roof on the Sanctuary. Interior membrane support structures were rebuilt as part of the project. Joseph Gnazzo Company was the general contractor for the project under the supervision of Architect Mohamad Farzan of NewPort Architecture, LLC.
In 2014, the La Farge Restoration Fund, with Coastal Electric, is replacing and upgrading all fire safety and electrical systems. A second restoration component is underway to replace with period appropriate lighting all the lights in the sanctuary and in the adjoining parish house. A third project component is the repair, replacement and restoration of the original Joseph Wells’ West Windows of the sanctuary which are in a tenuous condition.
As the Fund continues is campaign to ready the structure for the eventual restoration of the John La Farge windows and murals, it has the following project components in its sights over the next two years: a) masonry restoration on the North Tower, b) a new public accessible ramp and entrance to the sanctuary from Pelham Street, and an elevator and other improvements to the parish house which hosts several small business tenants.