Lutheran Crossings to open the castle gates

Local artists are invited to “Capture the Castle” on Thursday, Sept. 27.

There’s a bit of mystery to the castle that sits along Moorestown’s Main Street, according to Heather Kato, director of marketing and & communications for Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey. She said residents often drive by it but few take the time to see inside.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, Lutheran Crossings at Moorestown is opening the castle gates. Together, the assisted living facility and Moorestown Creates are hosting their inaugural “Capture the Castle” event. Whether they paint, sculpt or photograph it, artists of all ages, skill levels and mediums are invited to depict the historic Breidenhart Castle in the medium of their choosing.

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Leah Reynolds, vice president of philanthropy and mission advancement for Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, said “Capture the Castle” started through conversations with Moorestown Creates. Reynolds, who is also a member of the committee, said Lutheran Crossings connected with the group while they were renovating their social hall. She said an idea emerged to turn the hall into a public art space for local artists as well as a way to encourage community members to visit the property.

Reynolds said she and some fellow Moorestown Creates members approached Lutheran Crossings with the idea of “Capture the Castle” as a way to get local artists and other community members to come out and see the space.

The castle dates back to 1894 and was built as a private structure by Samuel Leeds Allen, inventor of the Flexible Flyer. Allen named the castle Breidenhart, which means “broad hearth stone” or “hospitality.” The castle was purchased by the Lutheran Home of New Jersey in 1946 and has been part of the Lutheran Social Ministries ever since.

On Sept. 27, local artists can assemble on the lawn of Lutheran Crossings and get to work on depicting the historic structure. Participation is free, and the event is not a competition as there will be no judge or jury.

“We’re going to have some fun with this historical landmark sitting there on our property,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said local artists are also invited to submit a few pieces of their work to be put on display in a pop-up gallery taking place that day. She said they’re inviting local restaurants to come out, and anyone in the community is encouraged to come out and tour the property.

She said Lutheran Crossings has been a part of the community for the last 70 years. Local organizations such as the Moorestown Business Association and the Moorestown Rotary Board host their meetings on the property, and Lutheran Crossings does not accept any rental fees for the use of their facilities.

Moving forward, the goal for the art space — which will be rebranded as a cultural arts center — is to bring new artists’ work in for display on a quarterly basis and invite anyone in the surrounding community to come see the artwork.

“Art as connection. That’s our mission. That’s our goal,” Reynolds said.

“Capture the Castle” will take place on Sept. 27 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Artists interested in submitting pieces for the popup gallery can call (609) 699–4115 or email gverlander@lsmnj.org. For more information, visit http://www.lsmnj.org/events/capture-the-castle.

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