The History of the Art House

Isabelle Stone ’18, Staff Writer 

Back in the 1990s, St. Luke’s obtained a new addition to the school: The Art House. Over the years, speculations arose and the Art House gained a curious reputation. With the emerging rumors of the mysterious swimming pool and questions about the origin of the darkroom, The Sentinel decided to investigate further.

Before it became the Art House, it was initially a home privately owned by the Michael O’Hearn, a St. Luke’s parent and board member. The O’Hearn family had a Golden Labrador Retriever named Maggie who would walk to the main building and roam the hallways, often times going to class with students. Maggie was known as the St. Luke’s dog.

In the mid 90s, after the wife passed, along with Maggie, the family decided it was time to move. Michael O’Hearn offered St. Luke’s the opportunity to purchase the house. Soon after, the house was sold and belonged to the school.

Since the house had a very modern feel, it was decided that it would be used for the Art Department. At the time, art classes were located in the current History wing. After several renovations, around 1996, the Art Department moved and the Art House was born.

Although many areas of the house were remodeled, the swimming pool was originally kept for several years. The pool was used at faculty gatherings and other events until it became too difficult to maintain in good condition. Now, the pool has been filled and the area has picnic tables.

Interestingly enough, the darkroom was added thanks to the well known actor, Bill Murray. Bill Murray had two sons who attended St. Luke’s: Luke and Homer. Homer had a passion for photography, so his mother (who was on the board at SLS), ensured that a darkroom was incorporated at the Art House. There is even a plaque on the outside of the darkroom that reads “For Homer.”

As for the future of the Art House: it will be demolished within the upcoming years. As of now, there are no definitive plans as to what will be made of the vacant space that is the glorious Art House; however, there is talk of turning the property into parking spaces. Although a tragic ending is near, the magical and wondrous place that we know as the Art House will forever live on in our minds.

Latest comment
  • Hi isabelle,

    thanks so much for writing this article. my good friend John Munro, who is now the head of fairfield country day school, sent it to me. i grew up in that house and spent 20+ years there from first grade on. while i didn’t go to sls — i went to new canaan high school — our family was always close to the headmaster at that time, dick whitcomb. he is largely responsible for turning st. luke’s into the terrific school it is today. back in the day, i used to play regularly on the fields at st. luke’s, and mr. whitcomb used to let me use the gym where i would occasionally play basketball. and, yes, maggie was the other big connection to sls. she basically became the school mascot. everyone loved her, and when my mother died, she died soon after. very sad times.

    i now live in boston, but I am still connected to sls. i run summit educational group, and we run test preparation classes there and i speak there every year.

    so happy i came across your article. wishing you the best of luck.

    charlie o’hearn