Arts & Faith St. Louis

Faith and the Visual Arts


Arts & Faith St. Louis and the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) Partnership

In 2017, Arts & Faith St. Louis began a focus on Faith and the Visual Arts. A partnership with the Saint Louis Art Museum was initiated to create programming using the Museum’s collection as a guide to interfaith understanding. Programs in 2018-2019 included:

A pair of gallery talks titled Images of Compassion presented in early April 2019 by Father Terrence Dempsey, S.J., then the Executive Director of MOCRA. These free, hour-long informal discussions offer insights into the Museum’s permanent collection and featured exhibitions. Talks take place in the galleries and are led by curators, museum educators, professors, artists, and other experts.

Interfaith Tours, initiated in 2017, continued in 2018-19 for drop-in visitors and scheduled groups. These tours demonstrate common elements of global faith traditions in art produced throughout the ages. Due to the success of these tours, beginning in 2020 there will be nine pairs of docents conducting Interfaith Tours, reflecting the passion of docents for this project and greatly expanding its reach. Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis has played an invaluable role in developing these tours and working with the docents. The A&F/SLAM collaboration will experience another success in October 2019 when SLAM docents and staff will present the Interfaith Tour program at the National Docent Symposium in Washington, D.C. with the hope that this approach can be a model for other communities to create partnerships with community organizations. A similar presentation was offered at the Docent Council of Metropolitan St. Louis Symposium last March for a wide range of St. Louis community museums and organizations.


Upcoming SLAM Gallery Talks -- Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 11 AM and Friday, October 4, 2019 at 6 PM. The Cycle of Life: The Magic of Transmutation in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Traditions presented by Nartana Premachandra, author and president of Dances of India. Both Gallery Talks are free of charge, but capacity is limited. Pick up a lanyard at the Information Center in the Museum’s Sculpture Hall to reserve a spot.


Upcoming Interfaith Tour -- Sunday, October 20, 2019 and Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 3 PM. These 90-minute drop-in tours are free of charge. Attendees meet at the Information Center in the Museum’s Sculpture Hall.


SLAM’s Study Room for Prints -- A new A&F/SLAM collaboration involves visiting SLAM’s Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs for private viewings of faith-related art. Arts & Faith St. Louis has worked with the Museum to develop several thematic presentations based on works on paper drawn from the collection. Past presentations have focused on depictions of the Passion, on images relating to Judaism or by Jewish artists, and on images relating to social justice. Individuals or groups may request these same sessions, or they may request new themes, in consultation with the Study Room. Arts & Faith St. Louis continues to collaborate with the Museum’s Study Room to develop additional themes.


About the Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs: Because works of art on paper are light sensitive, they can only be exhibited in the Museum galleries on a temporary basis. When they are not on display, the Museum’s collection of more than 14,000 works on paper spanning the history of art may be viewed by appointment in the Study Room. Individuals and groups are welcome. Visitors are requested to contact the Study Room a minimum of one week in advance of the desired appointment time. Evening appointments are available on the first Friday of each month, with at least three weeks’ notice. Wednesday–Friday, 10 AM–12 PM and 2–4:30 PM 314.655.5402 | paper@slam.org


St. Louis County Library -- Last October the St. Louis County Library, Daniel Boone Branch in collaboration with Arts & Faith presented a panel (Venerable Jue Huang, Fo Guang Shan Saint Louis Buddhist Center, Dr. David Oughton, Saint Louis University, Department of Theological Studies, Dr. Rosalynde Welch, scholar and writer) discussing select Ancient Egyptian, Buddhism and Mormon paintings and ritual.


Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) Arts & Faith St. Louis sponsored a tour of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) on the campus of Saint Louis University last October. Father Terrence Dempsey, S.J. then director of MOCRA, presented a “walking lecture” on the theme of Compassion as expressed in various pieces on display in their 25th anniversary show.


Good Shepherd Arts Center -- In Fall 2018, Arts & Faith St. Louis collaborated with Good Shepherd Arts Center (GSAC) Ferguson on an art exhibit “Children of Abraham for Peace and Justice." Currently Arts & Faith is collaborating with Good Shepherd Arts Center on an upcoming exhibit entitled “Who Is My Neighbor?”

High school and undergraduate students are invited to submit artwork for a juried visual art exhibit of all media. “Who Is My Neighbor?” seeks to portray the breaking down of barriers beyond race, faith, age, gender, and geography to explore what often divides us and what unites us. This is a juried show with first, second and third place honors, plus specialty awards.

All are invited to view “Who Is My Neighbor?” at Good Shepherd Arts Center, 252 S. Florissant Rd., Ferguson, MO 63135, opening reception Sunday, November 24, 2019 2PM - 4PM. The exhibit runs through December 2, 2019. For more details go to https://www.goodshepherdarts.org or email info@goodshepherdarts.org.


Batya Abramson-Goldstein | Chair, Community Engagement – Arts & Faith St. Louis