The College of New Rochelle Castle Gallery Exhibit Kate Canty Creche Collection

Written By: Talk of the Sound News

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Creche cover

The College of New Rochelle’s Kate Canty Crèche Collection will be on display at the Castle Gallery from December 2, 2012, for Free Arts Day, a collaboration with ArtsWestchester, through January 6, 2013, featuring unique nativity scenes compiled by Eileen Canty SAS’55 and her husband, Jim, from their world travels over the past two decades. The collection was donated to the College in the name of their daughter, Kate.

The Castle Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. The gallery can also be visited by appointment. For further information contact Castle Gallery Director Katrina Rhein at: (914)-654-5423 or email:

The nativity has become the most frequently depicted event in the world. Early images of Christ’s birth were found as early as the 4th century. Scenes with individual figures were introduced in the 13th century in Italy, giving worshippers who would never get to Bethlehem a vision of what it might have been like.

Use of the nativity spread throughout the churches of Europe and in 1640, made its way into the New World. The Ursulines of Quebec made a crèche at the request of a Jesuit missionary. By the 18th century, crèches began to appear in homes as well as in churches.

The nativity items in the collection have been donated from one of the largest, and reputedly finest, private collections in the country. They reflect the work of artists and craftspeople worldwide. Few are in the classical mode but they all show the central story of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child. Different traditions exist in different cultures as to whom and what are included, how the figures are dressed, what animals are present, and what gifts the Magi bring.

The diversity of media include wood and clay, straw and metal, glass and precious gems, seashells and seed pods, beads, feathers, flowers, paint, canvas, fabric, mosaic, and recycled materials.