Shuttered Catholic church sees new life as art studio

left: pic of the Schuchards in the church. right: inside of the church -- high vaulted ceilings, a round stained glass window. deconstructed pews lay on the ground
Photo credit Debbie Monterrey/KMOX

The former Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Lafayette in south St. Louis, built in 1908, was one of 31 parishes in the St. Louis Archdiocese to be shuttered in 2005. It’s had several new lives since — and is currently living as an art studio.

Artists and business owners Pat and Carol Schuchard purchased the building late last year after the Compton Heights Concert Band disbanded and put the church back on the market. It’s now called Johnny Angel Studios.

“We’re always looking at white elephant buildings that no one else wants,” Carol told KMOX. “We have a realtor who when he spots them, calls us, and says, ‘You might be crazy enough for this one.’ But this was kind of the love of a lifetime, this building.”

With all the pews removed, Pat says they have about 17,000 square feet of space, with 60-foot high ceilings. It’s still a work in progress, but they’re currently working on replacing the flooring while they’re working on pieces to install in their latest project, Tim’s Chrome Bar. That will open up soon across from another of their projects, Bevo Mill (now Das Bevo).

Pat says they’re not interested in things like apartment complexes or office buildings. The projects he and Carol gravitate towards are ones they feel a connection to as artists.

The Schuchards have also turned the old St. Louis Artists Guild on Union into the Boo Cat Club and the former furniture store/call center on Manchester into the Majorette.

“We’re really just studio artists,” says Pat. “Trying to make art. Trying to put art in big spaces.”

An exhibition of the artwork of Carol Crouppen Schuchard opens at the Duane Reed Gallery in the Central West End on February 10, 2023.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Debbie Monterrey/KMOX