Transcending Word and Deed: Religious Art

Though much of our religious traditions are recorded and communicated through text or action, art has been a long-standing avenue for expression and instruction of things concerning the soul.

The Flora Lamson Hewlett Library is hosting a special exhibit in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the GTU. Imaging Religion, which opens October 1 and runs through January 31, 2013, will feature visual and textual expressions characterizing beliefs from various religious traditions. Included in the display are Orthodox icons; Catholic paintings, prints, and vestments; Protestant prints; Islamic and Buddhist calligraphy; Jewish scrolls; and printed material, statues and objects from these and other traditions.

Works by contemporary artists Haji Noor Deen, Mi Guang Jiang, Ron Nakasone, He Qi, Alfonso Castillo, Corita Kent, Angelica Vasquez Cruz, and Virginia and Louis Naranjo are part of the exhibition.

The GTU has a rich history of actively embracing artistic expressions of the divine. Doug Adams, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at Pacific School of Religion (PSR), was a pioneering scholar in the field. Believing in the power and ambiguity of art to help formulate healthy, inclusive religious communities, Adams founded the Center for the Arts, Religion and Education (CARE) 25 years ago as an affiliate of the GTU. Today, CARE supplements the academics offerings of the consortium by offering classes and lectures, in addition to serving as a resource to the community and congregations. CARE’s newest centerpiece is the Doug Adams Gallery, a modern art space in the Badè Museum of Biblical Archeology at PSR.

Currently, CARE is seeking submissions for a juried show and auction in conjunction with the GTU’s 50th Anniversary Gala. Original artwork for consideration may be of a variety of mediums but must represent interfaith spirituality reflective of the mission and scope of the GTU. For more submission information, visit