Artist Dominic Pangborn Honors Blessed Solanus Casey in Detroit

Workers install artwork by Dominic Pangborn at the Solanus Casey Center (Photo courtesy of Dominic Pangborn)

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Solanus Casey Center the weekend of November 18, and their religious experience became all the more powerful thanks to a striking portrait by artist Dominic Pangborn.

An estimated 65,000 people—including Pangborn—attended the beatification ceremony for the late Blessed Solanus Casey at Detroit’s Ford Field on November 18. It was a rare event held by the Catholic Church, which many see as the precursor to Casey being named the first-ever male Catholic saint from the United States.

Many of those pilgrims also visited Detroit’s Solanus Casey Center, where they were greeted by Pangborn’s Art in Motion work.

“It’s really incredible because when you walk into the center, it’s right at the end of it where people go to see the body of Solanus Casey,” Pangborn says.

Capuchins at the Solanus Casey Center—an order of the Catholic Church—asked Pangborn to create a unique artwork to welcome visitors to the pilgrimage center. The three-dimensional portrait, which depicts Casey with open arms, appears to shift as viewers move, creating the illusion that Casey is walking toward them.

“I want that ‘wow’ factor,” Pangborn says. “It was very interesting how everybody was grabbing the next person like, ‘No, you’ve got to step back, you’ve got to look at it back there and start going up, you see him coming and meeting you.’”

Photo courtesy of Dominic Pangborn

The 10-foot by 10-foot aluminum artwork was installed on October 24 and weighs 400 lbs. As a result, Pangborn had to design a special structure to keep the artwork in place, as well as employ a five-member crew and a hydraulic lifter to install it.

While many of the visitors were awed by Pangborn’s art, the artist found himself stunned while attending the beatification ceremony.

“I was surprised, when I walked in they had my piece of art on the screen as visitors came in,” Pangborn says. “They had it on the video right on the main screen next to [Casey’s] picture and image. I was like, ‘Whoa!’”


Portrait of a Saint

Father Solanus Casey (Image courtesy of

Casey was considered a wonderworker by local Catholics in Detroit, revered for his faith, his attention to the sick, and his co-founding of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in 1929. He passed away in 1957.

Beatification is the official declaration by the pope that Casey led a holy and virtuous life and can intercede for the faithful. Casey can now be publicly venerated in Detroit and Capuchin houses.

Following the beatification, Casey is one step closer to being declared a saint. The church must verify that Casey performed one more miracle before he can achieve sainthood. He would be the first male born in the United States to be declared a Catholic saint.

“It’s going to be a pilgrimage of people from all over the world coming not just because he is a saint, but all the people praying to him for miracles,” Pangborn says.

Artwork featuring Blessed Solanus Casey by Dominic Pangborn

In addition to his Art in Motion, Pangborn created three paintings featuring Casey. Among them is a painting depicting Casey standing in an open doorway, a reference to the Capuchin’s time as a porter (a doorkeeper and receptionist) at St. Bonaventure Monastery from 1924 to 1945. Pangborn plans on using the images to create prayer cards.

To collect the artwork of Pangborn, contact Park West Gallery at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours or

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • The Incredible Process of Bringing Salvador Dalí’s “Divine Comedy” to Life

    In 1950, famed Surrealist Salvador Dalí began work on an ambitious project—he was going to illustrate Dante’s 14th-century epic poem about the afterlife, “The Divine Comedy.”What he didn’t ...
    Read More
  • Do You Know How to Take Care of Your Art? Take Our Quiz...

    We love art, and we’re betting you do too. That is why we want to give you some expert tips on how to keep your art looking as beautiful as ...
    Read More
  • Everyone Wants to Take a Bite Out of Artist Matt Beyrer

    Artist Matt Beyrer has an uncanny knack for drawing depth and beauty out of unexpected places.

    So perhaps it’s not surprising that Beyrer’s artistic career began in an unexpected place—on a surfboard.

    Read More
  • The Strange History Behind Salvador Dalí’s “Divine Comedy”

    Salvador Dalí was an unusual choice to illustrate Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.”Dante’s epic poem is considered one of Italy’s national treasures, a work embraced by both Italian cultural ...
    Read More
  • Collect Original Graphic Works by Salvador Dali in Our New Fall Sale

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Now you have the opportunity to collect works from the internationally renowned Surrealist in our ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with Patrick Guyton

    Patrick Guyton has combined his passion for ancient art techniques with a tenacious work ethic to create a truly unique body of work.Guyton’s art is a sight to behold. ...
    Read More
  • Park West CEO Provides Insight into ‘Self-Destructing’ Banksy Art

    Famous street artist Banksy has made art history by having one of his paintings elaborately destroy itself immediately after being sold for $1.4 million.The unprecedented stunt took place at Sotheby’s ...
    Read More
  • Park West Auctioneer Spotlight: Alex White

    It takes a special kind of person to head off onto the high seas to spread their love of art to travelers around the world.Alex White is one of those ...
    Read More
  • The History of Picasso Ceramics: How Picasso Changed Pottery Forever

    Between 1946 and 1973, Pablo Picasso created a breathtaking collection of original ceramic works.Over the past 50 years, Park West Museum has developed one of the largest collections ...
    Read More
  • Understanding the Delicate Process Behind the Art of Patrick Guyton

    The artistic process Patrick Guyton uses to create his art is exacting, volatile, and precarious. This may sound hyperbolic, but for Guyton, something as simple as using the wrong ...
    Read More
  • Park West Gallery Enhances the Art Experience with New Interactive Technology

    As Park West Gallery celebrates 50 years in business, it’s continuing its mission of reimagining the art world with new and innovative ways for people to interact with art.Park West ...
    Read More
  • Meet James Coleman: 10 Questions with the Acclaimed Artist

    If you’re not familiar with the name “James Coleman,” you’re definitely familiar with his work.For over 17 years, Coleman supervised the creation of the hand-painted backgrounds for some of ...
    Read More