The arts have a unique power to inspire thoughtful discussion among diverse audiences, to bring people together, and to bridge divides through shared experiences.
There are issues that would benefit from considered collaboration between the arts and the faith community. There is no other organized, ongoing activity elsewhere in our community with this focus.
This process of collaboration will build on the St. Louis community's traditions of strong interfaith and inter-group collaboration, mutual respect among diverse groups, and civility in public discourse.
Arts & Faith St. Louis began on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with an interfaith commemoration in music at The Sheldon Concert Hall. The concert, which has become an annual event, has been presented to capacity audiences each year.
Headlined by renowned soprano Christine Brewer and other acclaimed local musicians, the event also showcases the performances of many diverse faith groups, providing attendees with a unique opportunity for reflection, unity, and peace.
Beyond the Annual Concerts
In recent years Arts & Faith St. Louis expanded its reach with a wide range of projects to bring groups together through artistic expressions and interfaith connections.
In February 2017 The Cave Project included performances of The Cave, a multimedia opera, reminding us of the common roots of the three Abrahamic religions. Additional programs presented as part of The Cave Project included lectures, presentations, and concerts. Videos, which premiered at the annual 2016 concert, have focused on interfaith youth and their approaches to building a more harmonious St. Louis.
A collaboration with the Saint Louis Art Museum in fall 2017 has produced interfaith tours specifically designed to demonstrate common elements of our world’s great religions in art produced throughout the ages. Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis has played an invaluable role in developing these tours.
In 2018 panel discussions were as added as new event programming at both the Saint Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis County Library. (Click on tabs for SLAM Events and SLCL Events for details.)
St. Louis County Library: In fall 2018 a program by 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 and Faith sponsored a tour of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) on the campus of St Louis University fall 2018. Father Terrence Dempsey, then the director of MOCRA, presented a “walking lecture” on the theme of COMPASSION as expressed in various pieces on display in their 25th anniversary show.
In fall 2018, Arts & Faith collaborated with Good Shepherd Arts Center (GSAC) Ferguson on an art exhibit “Children of Abraham for Peace and Justice".
In spring 2020, Arts & Faith St. Louis began an ongoing collaboration with the St. Louis Storytelling Festival which has co-presented storytelling events at the monthly Story Lounge at the new High Low facility in Grand Center on themes of mutual interest, this year focusing on the theme of “compassion,” tying into the theme of our upcoming concert. A well-attended virtual “Stories of Compassion” event was part of the spring 2020 St. Louis Storytelling Festival.
The concerts and program offerings demonstrate the transformational power of shared musical and visual arts experiences!
Arts & Faith St. Louis is guided by a diverse group of leaders from arts organizations and faith communities:
ARTS & FAITH ST. LOUIS PLANNING COMMITTEE
Laura Arnold Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, Chair
Batya Abramson-Goldstein Arts & Fatih St. Louis
Bala Anantharama The Hindu Faith
Rev. Sheila Bouie-Sledge North Park United Methodist Church
David Brinker Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
Jessica Chamberlain Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
James Comininellis Archdiocese of St. Louis
Gretta Forrester Annunziata Catholic Church
Dr. Ghazala Hayat, MD Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
Rev. Dieter Heinzl Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church (USA)
Frank Jacobs Jacobs International Cheers
Andrew Jorgensen Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Rabbi Howard Kaplansky Arts & Faith St. Louis
Jim Kemp First Congregational Church of St. Louis, UCC
Milton Kendrick III Central Baptist Church - St. Louis
Eugene Kornblum Arts & Faith St. Louis
Mont Levy Arts & Faith St. Louis
Carolyn Losos Arts & Faith St. Louis
Phyllis Markus Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations / JCRC
Sister Glynis Mary McManamon, RGS Good Shepherd Arts Center
Michael P. McMillan Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
F. Javier Orozco, OFS, PhD Archdiocese of St. Louis
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Jim Poinsett Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis
Paul K. Reuter The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries
Shima Rostami Shia Islam
Paul Reuter Administrative Director
Barbara Murray Fundraising and Publicity
Katelyn Galenski Community Engagement - Music
Megan Gaxiola Concert Production