St. Peter's by-the-Sea
Episcopal Church
History and Art
The Mosaic at St. Peter's
The History of the Mosaic
Though originally planned as one integrated work, the mosaic was completed in
three phases.  Rector Charles Erickson, observing that the space above and
around the doors could be used to enhance the spiritual significance of the
church, consulted artist Dale Owen.  Together the came up with the rough layout.
From then on, the artist's creativity had free rein.  After the scale drawing was
approved he began work in his studio.
The first section, the part directly above the double doors was installed in 1986,
given by Gene and Adaline Morosin in memory of their son, Michael, who had died
in an automobile accident.  Pressure of work and commissions, family
commitments, and ill health then kept Mr. Owen from finishing more than this first
portion, though work had begun in his studio.
It was not until 1995 that St. Peter's Vestry ad- dressed the issue of completing the
project.  Dis- cussion continued with Mr. Owen in the hope he would find an
opportunity to bring the work to the point of installation.  At last, in 1999, in two
stages and funded by accumulated memorial gifts, the final sections were installed
June 22, just in time for the  celebration of the congregation's fiftieth anniver- sary.
All the tiles were created and hand-cut expressly for this mosaic  Some of them
have insets of semi-precious stones and metallic silver.
In viewing this work it's important to remember that for hundreds of years, biblical
texts were few and most persons were illiterate.  Symbols were thus widely used to
represent objects and ideas, which the people were highly skilled at understanding.
The Artist
Thirsting for knowledge and driven to enlighten others through his art, Dale Owen has
inspired the people of St. Peter's as he certainly inspired thousands of student during his
career of making art and teaching. He grew up in Hollywood, where he worked in the
entertainment industry for several years.  That's where he met his wife, Elaine, a costume
designer at the time.
His teaching career included positions in Cornish College, The University of Oregon, UCLA,
and the Chouinard Art Institute, where he served as Dean.
Mr. Owen, who has survived his wife, is a member of St. Peter's.
When asked why he chose to take on the project   to complete the Mosaic at St. Peter's,
considering he was 83-years-old when the final work was commissioned in 1995, he replied, "I
have the disease of art; I always have."
In fact, Owen eagerly looked forward to completing the work but no sooner had he begun
than is motheer died.  Then he suffered a stroke from which he slowly recoveed.  He said
afterwards that, while going through the therapy and exercises to rebuild his capacity, he
often prayed:  "Please let me live long enough to finish the mosaic.

    Dale Owen on the
    occasion of his 95th
    birthday, nine years
    after the completion
    of the mosaic.

    click the image for a
    larger version.
    St. Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church                             Weekly Schedule:   Sunday                                    Wednesday                             The First Saturday of alternate months:
    545 Shasta Avenue                                                                                                       8:00 AM Holy Eucharist        10:00 AM  Holy Eucharist                 Service at the Prado Day Center
    Morro Bay, CA  93442                                                                                                  10:30 AM  Holy Eucharist                                                                              

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