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Christianity and Literature :: Conferences
Catherine Kapikian is the founder and director emerita of The Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.
The author of Art in the Service of the Sacred, Professor Kapikian will address the interrelationship between theology and the arts.
A skilled visual artist, Kapikian will also explore the relationship between literature and the visual arts.
More information about her work can be found at www.catherinekapikian.com.
ART IN SERVICE OF THE SACRED by Catherine Kapikian « StoneWorks: A Global Arts Initiative
ART IN SERVICE OF THE SACRED by Catherine Kapikian
Evidence of this new renaissance can be found in the work of Catherine Kapikian
book, Art in Service of the Sacred.
In the foreword Kapikian writes, "This book encourages congregations to take seriously the role of visual art in worship and in the broader life of the church.
It proclaims the power of art when it is used as art (not merely backdrop or illustration), reclaims the presence of religious symbols in worship, asserts the importance of aesthetic dimensions of ecclesial space, and recovers the role of visual art to engage our sense and our imaginations as we seek to encounter the Holy One in our lives.
This is, of course, not an easy task-especially when one considers the divide that continues to exist between the artistic community and the religious community.
recognizes this divide and seeks to cross it by inviting artists into the church while at the same time inviting the church into the gallery.
Kapikian's depth of experience, both as an artist and as a theologian, is a gift to the church.
easily traverses between philosophical principles and pragmatic proposals, helping the reader to see not only why, but also how.
One of her
greatest strengths is the ability to place an artwork within its proper context.
does not promote a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather encourages churches to think critically about the specific context within which they are working. (Included with the purchase of the book is a DVD that contains some specific examples of work made within ecclesial contexts.) In my own work I have found Kapikian's thoughts on forming an arts committee and sponsoring artists-in-residence to be particularly helpful.
Chapel Reredos by Catherine Kapikian
West Market Street United Methodist Church
, Greensboro, NC.
This work was designed by Kapikian
and needlepointed by members of the congregation.
Kapikian is the founder and director emerita of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion and currently holds the title of Distinguished Artist in Residence at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC.
engages in commissioned, ecclesial, site-specific works, most of which are grounded in what she
calls participatory aesthetics.
Abiding Presence Lutheran Church
We engaged the talents of Catherine Kapikian, Director of the Center for the Arts and religion of the Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., to create the designs.
Blacksburg Presbyterian Church :: Worship and the Arts
The fund was also used to bring Catherine Kapikian of Wesley Seminary in Washington D.C. to Blacksburg in 2007 to guide us in making the building a more worshipful and dynamic space.
Invited speaker Catherine ...
Invited speaker Catherine Kapikian, founder and director emeritus of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., described her work commissioning communities to stitch large-scale ecclesiastical needlepoint works for specific religious sites.
Author of Art in Service of the Sacred, Kapikian designed the Gerald R. Ford presidential kneeler for Washington National Cathedral, along with many other works for churches and synagogues throughout the country.
In a contemporary version of traditional quilting circles, stitchers in communities come together to help create the works she
designs that will hang in their places of worship, Kapikian
"It's wonderful for the community to be engaged in the chaos of creation," she
"Engagement like this is so therapeutic on so many levels."
Community-engaged stitching becomes "the work of the people," Kapikian
said, citing a woman stitcher with advanced cancer who wanted to keep working as long as she
showed slides of very different works she
had designed for a contemporary Lutheran church, an Episcopal church
, a Methodist church, a retirement community chapel, the University of Maryland Chapel
, and a chapel at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
said designing includes making a complex full-scale drawing or model with color directions for the entire piece.