Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new Christian community has started up in Crewe. ‘Restore’ is part of the ‘Fresh Expressions’ movement. The Revd Tim Watson is the leader of ‘Restore’, which will have a focus on the arts and has an ambitious plan to open an arts centre in Crewe.

The group currently meets twice a week – 8pm on Tuesdays at 30 Oakhurst Drive, Wistaston; and 10am on Sundays in Costa Coffee in the town centre.

In the months ahead, Tim and the team have also set themselves the task of restoring the old Christ Church site in the town centre, to turn it into an arts centre and café.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted August 5, 2014 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While airborne I also listened to an episode of In Our Time, the BBC Radio 4 talk show hosted by veteran broadcaster Melvyn Bragg. Bragg is a polymath; his interest in subjects as varied as photosynthesis, Druids, and the Sino-Japanese War, his affability on air, and his ability to elicit scintillating conversation from scientists and scholars make him one of our best curators of general culture. In the episode I listened to, Bragg was discussing with historian of philosophy Anthony Kenny the bitter controversy over John Wyclif’s interpretation of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. “Could we just spend one more moment on this?” Bragg asked—“because I think it’s absolutely fascinating and key, and quite hard to grasp nowadays.” But if it is quite hard to grasp nowadays, that is because it was always hard to grasp. We are neither so stupid nor so technologically advanced as to be unable to share in the religious concerns of our ancestors—pace Rudolf Bultmann, who once said (in a paroxysm of what C. S. Lewis would call chronological snobbery) that “we cannot use electric lights and radios” and at the same time believe in the miracles of the New Testament.

We owe thanks to the Monuments Men and curators of our culture for rescuing and preserving treasures that would otherwise have vanished from view. But what of the civilization that produced these great works? Are we heading for a future in which our sacred objects will survive essentially as museum pieces? We need not only to preserve the past but also to reanimate it, to let it inform our prayer and thought, and thus to reanimate ourselves by recovering what is good and beautiful in our tradition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted July 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what did I not speak out about, which I can do now?

The main issue I failed to address was the question of beauty. Please bear with me, because when I talk about beauty I am not talking about the overly self-conscious and preening opinions of art critics. They write for a very limited audience. The kind of beauty that I want to talk about is much larger and much more profound than that.

When I refer to beauty I am referring to the absolute, ineffable, ultimately inexpressible beauty of the Divine, of God, of the Almighty…

There is a delicious and troubling irony here: going to churches throughout Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire as I did, gazing out from our house across to St Albans Abbey as I did, I did not often reflect on the stunning loveliness of our church buildings. I loved them, I worked in them, I preached in them, but I did not stop to consider the relationship between the beauty of those buildings and the beauty of God. Let me not confine myself to Herts and Beds. Think of any of the countless thousands of our churches in these islands: the medieval glass in Fairford, the soaring perpendicular of Patrington in Holderness, the grace of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, the racy, provocative carving at Kilpeck in Herefordshire, the strange carvings on the font at Melbury Bubb (what a glorious name for a village in Dorset), and whilst still in Dorset, the windows etched by Lawrence Whistler at Moreton, or more prosaically, the graffiti at Ashwell in Hertfordshire concerning the Plague and a design for old St Paul’s.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchArchitectureArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

2 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a decade marked by deep grief, partisan rancor, war, financial boondoggles and inundation from Hurricane Sandy, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero is finally opening ceremonially on Thursday, with President Obama present, and officially to the public next Wednesday. It delivers a gut-punch experience — though if ever a new museum had looked, right along, like a disaster in the making, this one did, beginning with its trifurcated identity.

Was it going to be primarily a historical document, a monument to the dead or a theme-park-style tourist attraction? How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains, still being added to? How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts? How many theme parks bring you, repeatedly, to tears?

Because that’s what the museum does....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchArtHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 15, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there have been losses and disappointments along the way. Sirman highlighted the three biggest:

Artists and creators have lost their collective voice, the Canadian Conference of Arts. It predated the Massey Commission by four years. In its heyday it spoke for 400,000 artists and creators. Two years ago, it closed its doors. “It would be unfathomable (to Massey) that Canada’s cultural well-being is not sufficiently supported to sustain a national advocacy organization,” [Robert] Sirman said.

The second is Ottawa has lost interest in nurturing and showcasing Canadian culture. “We are living through an era of Own the Podium, not welcome the world,” he noted sadly.

The third is that Canadians don’t seem to care. “Canada has become a materialistic society.” The desire for a balance between what Massey called spiritual assets and economic assets no longer exists.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryMusicPoetry & LiteratureReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/Plays* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted April 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The original idea for a monument to Christ came from a group of Brazilians who, in the wake of World War One, feared an advancing tide of godlessness. Church and state had been separated when Brazil became a republic at the end of the previous century, and they saw the statue as a way of reclaiming Rio – then Brazil’s capital city – for Christianity.

The first proposal was for a bronze statue of Christ on Sugar Loaf - the giant lump of rock with a smooth, curved summit that rises out of the ocean at the entrance to Guanabara Bay. But it was soon decided that Corcovado (“hunch back”) - a peak in the forested hills behind the city - was a better location.

Da Silva Costa, whose design was chosen in February 1922, imagined the statue facing the rising sun: “The statue of the divine saviour shall be the first image to emerge from the obscurity in which the earth is plunged and to receive the salute of the star of the day which, after surrounding it with its radiant luminosity, shall build at sunset around its head a halo fit for the Man-God,” he wrote....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazil* TheologyChristology

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Posted March 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m often the first to defend Episcopalians when people joke about what they see as excessive people-pleasing and inclusivity. Though I’m an atheist, I consider myself a “cultural Episcopalian” due to my upbringing. I find their consistent adaptation of doctrine and policies that open the church up rather than close it off not as people-pleasing but as measures to be more loving and Christ-like. But even I have to shake my head sometimes when the church does something so clearly aimed at getting people to like them. Such is the case of the seashell adorning The Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Paul in Boston.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt* Theology

6 Comments
Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A lovely book has just come out, about some of the most lively and beautiful medieval sculpture in Britain. It is by Alex Woodcock, a stonemason, who has also published scholarly work on the art.

His new book (Impress Books, £9.99), illustrated in colour, is called Of Sirens and Centaurs. The odd thing is that there are, I’d argue, no sirens in it. Let me explain.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pediment of The Cathedral Church Of St. Paul in Boston has stood empty for 190 years, as the builders of the impressive Greek Revival structure ran out of money during the initial construction phase. It was finally completed in May of 2013, but since then it's come under fire for its unusual design, which features a backlit nautilus sculpture.

Though the original plans for the Episcopal church called for a classical relief of St. Paul preaching to King Agrippa, the current design is absent of traditional Christian iconography, featuring instead the clean lines of a seashell's interior which allude to Oliver Wendell Holme's poem "The Chambered Nautilus," writes The Living Church in a review.

Reverend and Dean of St. Paul's, Jep Streit, told Radio Boston that the nautilus was "the perfect metaphor for a spiritual journey." He elaborated, "The nautilus is evocative of so much more than the church. It creates its shell by outgrowing each previous compartment. It’s always moving into a new, bigger space, and it can never go back."

Read it all and follow the many links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

2 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Witnesses to the Light: An Adventure into God's Workmanship Past, Present and Future," was written and compiled by the Rev. John Harper, who was interim dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in 2004-05.

"It took me two and a half years," Harper said. "It has been a labor of love. It has been a joy from the very beginning. Anytime you start to do something for the Lord, it works that way."

The 290-page book, nine by 12 inches with full-color photography, documents every window in the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. It also features every priest who served as dean or rector, and explanations for the needlepoint artwork and designs in the wood such as the altar shields.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtBooksReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted January 10, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At Christmas, thoughts at many churches turn to a certain star.

At Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights, thoughts are of a thousand stars or more.

That’s how many long-hidden stars have been uncovered in the ceiling of the building, a 165-year-old Episcopal church at Hicks Street and Grace Court, under a $5 million renovation that includes a new copper roof, new insulation, new lighting, new wiring and a much-needed cleaning of many of the 3,200 organ pipes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt* TheologyEschatology

3 Comments
Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There will soon be a rooftop swimming pool where the copper-domed bell towers of Mary Help of Christians once rose.

Formerly a hub of the East Village’s Italian-American community, the site of the Roman Catholic church is now slated for a 158-unit rental building, complete with basement gym and rooftop gardens — a familiar trajectory for a growing number of houses of worship as church attendance falls and real estate values soar.

In the rubble-strewn lot on Avenue A between 11th and 12th Streets where Mary Help of Christians and its school and rectory long stood, a rusty basketball hoop and strip of blacktop are all that is left. But perhaps unknown to those mourning the church’s passing, much of what was precious inside it — and other now-closed Catholic churches — sits in a Staten Island warehouse, awaiting a second chance.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Growing up in Greece, Vasileios Marinis encountered world-famous religious images on the walls of a thousand-year-old monastery not far from home.

The still-active monastery, called Hosios Loukas, is an acclaimed example of Middle Byzantine architecture. As a youth, Marinis learned to behold the building’s artful objects—mosaics, murals, icons—not as museum pieces frozen in time but as windows on eternity, declarations of faith that enlisted color, paint, fabric, wood and stone. These taught him to look, to see. Dreams of becoming an art historian—a byzantinist—were born.

“It was an astounding building,” recalls Marinis, assistant professor of Christian art and architecture at Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 98, Hal Lasko is an unlikely master of computer art. Born before the invention of broadcast radio, Lasko spent his career as a commercial graphic designer, working with his hands to create typography and design. But as age caught up with Lasko the brush strokes became more difficult. “When I lost my eyesight, I thought my painting days were over,” says Lasko. Instead, around 15 years ago, Lasko’s grandchildren bought him a computer and introduced the artist to Microsoft Paint. The program allows Lasko to magnify the area large enough to draw pixel by pixel. “If it takes me two years to do that [create a painting], I can do it. I got a lot of patience,” says Lasko.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyArtScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has launched a campaign to conserve 100 treasures in Anglican churches, and the Church of England hopes to raise £3m for their conservation.

Church Care, the central Anglican organisation that runs the campaign, points out that caring for over 16,000 churches in England is an enormous burden. Repairs to buildings cost a total of £115m a year, “to keep them watertight and fit for the 21st century”. Too often, there are simply no funds left for conserving works of art.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



This was made by one of the children at Christ Saint Paul's Yonges Island, South Carolina, and presented to rector Craige Borrett and myself this morning--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchArtChildren* Theology

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Posted October 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How many churches print or project copyrighted texts with unauthorized changes? I was curious, so I did a quick survey via social media. Though it was hardly a scientific sampling process, I did hear from about 200 (anonymous) pastors and worship planners. While only 8 percent of them say they alter texts every week, 57 percent do so at least a few times a year. They do this for lots of reasons, but the biggest issues are gendered language (81 percent of those who change words at all) and other theological objections (65 percent).

Notably, only 6 percent of respondents cop to printing or projecting copyrighted texts without holding any kind of license. But 24 percent admit that if a given piece isn’t covered by whatever licenses they have, they include it anyway. And even among the majority who only print the licensed stuff, 53 percent regularly change the words.

Of course, there’s little excuse for skipping the license when the publishers have made it so reasonable: one stop, no fuss, a fair price. Getting permission to change a text is less simple, making it that much more tempting to just skip that step.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtLaw & Legal IssuesMusicReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Church of England court has ruled that Benjamin West’s altarpiece, Devout Men Taking Away the Body of St Stephen, 1776, which was made for one of the most important churches in the City of London can be sold for display in the US. The $2.85m painting is being bought by an anonymous foundation, which is due to lend it to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (The Art Newspaper, April 2013, pp6-7 and June 2013, p3). West was born in America, but worked in England.

In his judgment, delivered on 10 July, Judge Nigel Seed, chancellor of the consistory court of the Diocese of London, ruled that St Stephen Walbrook should be allowed to sell the masterpiece. The painting had been removed from the church in around 1987, in what he described as “perceived illegal actions”, and has since been kept in storage.

Judge Seed was critical of “unlawful actions” taken by two priests at St Stephen Walbrook: one who had originally hung the picture in 1776 without “faculty” approval from the Church of England and the second who had removed it in around 1987, again without the necessary permission. He said: “This case, if nothing else, is an object lesson of the consequences of incumbents behaving as though the church building is a sort of personal doll’s house for them to play with, without reference to the parishioners.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchArt

1 Comments
Posted July 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchArtPoetry & Literature* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 9, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The community of Roxbury had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating.

A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations.

But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized.

Read it all (Video highly recommended).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtChildrenEducationMusicUrban/City Life and Issues

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the center of Spain and of ancient Castile, and less than an hour from Madrid, Toledo has always existed in another world. Countless settlers have been drawn to the city's impregnable perch on a mountaintop, and they have shaped its cultural history: Romans, Visigoths, Moorish caliphates and, in the medieval period, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities all left their mark on monuments that fill the small city. Domenikos Theotokopoulos—the 16th-century painter from Crete known as El Greco—left his adopted home some of its greatest treasures, including his magisterial painting of "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz." On a monumental scale (almost 16 feet by 10 feet) and in astonishingly original form, the canvas reflects not only centuries of Toledo's history as a cultural melting pot, but the profound faith and tolerance that sustained it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpain

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Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s been announced that York Minster, the second-largest gothic church in Europe, may shortly be coated in a layer of fat derived from olive oil. It’s all part of a growing trend of looking to the past for remedies to contemporary problems.

The Minster was built between 1220 and 1470 using magnesian limestone. Apparently the stone masons used to rub linseed oil into the blocks. The effect was to bind the calcium found in the limestone.

Now Cardiff University in Wales has developed a substance to form the proposed 21st-century protective layer. Chemist Karen Wilson said: "We went to the traditional idea but used olive oil. It forms a layer one molecule thick which stops water getting in — but is porous enough to let moisture escape."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The roof of the Louvre's new Islamic art department undulates like golden fabric gently lifted by the wind—a feat, considering it is made of steel and glass and weighs almost 150 tons. Filling a neoclassical courtyard, the addition that opened last fall tripled the space devoted to Islamic art and more than doubled the number of objects on view to almost 3,000, or about a sixth of the museum's works from the Islamic world.

In contrast to the spectacular architecture by Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti, the installation is understated, an elegant version of open-storage: objects grouped in long glass cases; larger pieces—carved steles, inlaid doors, stone latticed windows—clustered on low pedestals; and architectural fragments affixed to partitions. The flooring is dark, the passageways plain and the lighting democratic, giving shards of earthenware as much attention as finely woven rugs from Iran, a jewel-encrusted dagger from Mughal India or 14th-century enameled blown-glass lamps from Egypt and Syria that are about as close to numinous as objects can get.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(In the 16th chapter of this book Nathaniel Wyeth (who goes by Nat), engineer and inventor, responds to the interviewer and tells a story about on his brother, artist Andrew Wyeth--KSH)
Andy once did a picture. This is sort of an extension of what we've been talking about, but it's indicative of the kind of training I'm talking about....Andy did a picture of Lafayette's headquarters which is down here on Route One near Chadds Ford [a town in Pennsylvania]. It's a beautiful, old building, built before the Revolutionary War, and in his picture was a huge sycamore tree coming up from behind the building with all its beautiful branches. You could see part of the trunk coming up over the roofline.

When I first saw the painting, he wasn't quite finished with it. He showed me a lot of drawings of the trunk and the gnarled roots going into the ground, and and I said, "gee whiz, where's that in the picture?" "It's not in the picture, " he said. And I looked at him.

“Nat," he said, “for me to get the feeling that I want in that tree, the part of the tree that's showing, I've got tounderstand and know very thoroughly how that tree is anchored to the ground in back of the house." It never showed in the picture. But he could draw the part of the tree above the house with a lot more authenticity because he knew exactly the way that thing was anchored in the ground. Isn’t that remarkable?

To me, this was all very indicative of what my father [the illustrator N.C. Wyeth] trained into us in whatever we were doing: to understand what we were doing.
--Kenneth A. Brown, Inventors at Work: Interviews with 16 Notable American Inventors (Redmond, Wash.: Tempus Books, 1988), pp. 374-375, quoted by yours truly in yesterday's sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdvent* Culture-WatchArtHistoryScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Louis C. Tiffany is perhaps best known for his intricate glass lamps, but a new exhibit at the Museum of Biblical Art reveals a spiritual side to the master designer and craftsman whose studio single-handedly shaped the image of American churches.

"Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion," which runs through Jan. 20, 2013, centers on the religious memorials and decorations that Tiffany and his firm created for American congregations for about a half century, beginning in the 1880s.

"We know Tiffany for his lamps, but what we overlook is that Tiffany was most prolific for his work in houses of worship," said curator Patricia Pongracz, the museum's acting director.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standing in the Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo's famous ceiling frescoes, people are reminded that the world was created by God in a supreme act of love, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"With a unique expressive intensity," the pope said, Michelangelo depicted the power and majesty of God the creator in a way that proclaimed "the world is not the product of darkness, chaos or absurdity, but derives from intelligence, freedom, a supreme act of love."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchArt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted November 1, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

'Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is assistant curator Mia Fineman's response to a persistent question she has been asked over the past five years: Have digital technology and software programs that alter an image with a few clicks on a comkeyboard destroyed faith in the evidentiary truth of photography?

Her persuasive answer: not nearly as much as we've been led to believe. Supported by an astute selection of some 200 works that goes back to the painted daguerreotype and forward to darkroom alchemy from the early 1990s, she argues that photographers have been "lying" to us since the medium's invention, often with our encouragement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistory

0 Comments
Posted October 25, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For all the surprisingly rich moral insight of Dark Knight Rises, it is worth pausing to consider if such epiphanies might be obtained in a way that did not require the graphic mayhem.

Put another way, is it time for America’s most gifted filmmakers and other artists to offer a more diverse context for exploring the struggle between good and evil and our unpredictable capacity to make choices that defy our base instincts?

There’s no formula for drawing inspiration from stories and characters that compel an audience’s engagement without desensitizing their conscience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchArtMovies & TelevisionPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Paul Williams began his career, he could find no black architects to be his role models or mentors. Born in downtown Los Angeles in 1894, Williams became orphaned before he turned 4 when his parents, Chester and Lila, died of tuberculosis. A family friend raised him and told him he was so bright, he could do anything he wanted. And what he wanted was to design homes for families — perhaps because he lost his own so early in his life. Despite warnings from those who thought he was being impractical ("Your own people can't afford you, and white clients won't hire you," was one such warning), Williams became an architect.

His work has come to signify glamorous Southern California to the rest of the country — and to the world. One of his hallmarks — a luxuriantly curving staircase — has captivated many a potential owner. Retired financial services magnate Peter Mullin remembers how he felt when he saw his 1925 Colonial, the first one Williams built in L.A.'s posh Brentwood neighborhood.

"The first time I saw it, I didn't think I could afford the house, but if I could afford the staircase, I wanted to take it with me!" Mullin laughs. He bought the house — once inhabited by producer Ingwald Preminger, brother of director Otto — and has enjoyed it for 35 years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

1 Comments
Posted June 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To those who questioned the prettiness of his paintings—their too-good-to-be-true sentimentality—he had a theological answer: "I like to portray a world without the Fall." A retort to that statement would be that faith itself teaches us that a fallen human is ill-equipped to imagine an Edenic world—and that in any case our task in life is not to look away from the sin-scarred creation and dwell on an ideal world but to look for grace and redemption in the midst of the mess we've made.

It's an argument I've made myself, in an essay criticizing Kinkade's aesthetic. Yet I am still forced to admit that he raised a valid question about the purpose and meaning of art. After all, Western art in many ways starts with the Greeks, who made ideal beauty, with its glimpse of divine perfection, the hallmark of their culture. Doesn't seeing the world as it ought to be elevate and enlighten us, offering us a small respite from the darkness? That's precisely what so many have found in Kinkade's art: a powerfully nostalgic longing for the way it ought to be, a break from the daily grind and the thousand disappointments that drag us down.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

7 Comments
Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society. In the forty years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. An amalgam of traditional art forms—painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, cinematography—video games offer artists a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences.

The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with twenty developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.

Read it all and check out the many links. Also, PC World had an article about this there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted April 13, 2012 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Illuminating God’s message of grace in popular culture, including in television shows like “Downton Abbey” and others like “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” is the cornerstone of Mockingbird, which strives to connect Christianity with everyday life.

Through mbird.com, contributors, including Zahl, analyze film, music, television, literature, social science and humor, dissecting the contents through a Christian understanding.

“We are not trying to cover popular culture,” said Zahl. “But we are trying to reach people through both conscious and unconscious parallels in good art.”

Read it all and do go check out the website.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBlogging & the InternetBooksMovies & TelevisionMusicTheatre/Drama/Plays* TheologyApologeticsPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 14, 2012 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Alain de Botton, the British pop philosopher whose new book Religion for Atheists has made him the friendly face of modern godlessness....said if you walked into a modern university and asked to study the humanities in order to find meaning in life, “the people in charge would immediately dial the number of the insane asylum, and you would be taken away.”

He said the message of the secular world is that life is simple, and the only people who need help are stupid people who read self-help books.

He set his own views against the “virulent strain” of atheism that sees religion as “not just false but wrong, ridiculous, malign and corrupt,” epitomized by Christopher Hitchens’ claim that “religion poisons everything.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryMusicPhilosophyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanadaEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheismSecularism

1 Comments
Posted March 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The social-bookmarking site Pinterest has been around since 2010, but if you’re on Facebook you have probably noticed an upswing in people “pinning” things – that is, posting found images under their names, in folders like “Clothes I’d Like to Own” or “Places I’d Like to Visit.” If you are a woman you are much more likely to have heard of it, as women so far have been its primary users. But business magazines are calling it the fastest-growing site ever: It now has 12 million unique visitors. With so much momentum, it is unlikely that women will hang on to it as their little secret for much longer.

Pinterest’s enthusiastic proponents say that there is nothing new about making collages of pictures that express our personalities: Most of us did it with cut-up magazines as children. But I think there is also something entirely contemporary about the kind of collecting that seems to dominate this site....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologyScience & TechnologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted March 7, 2012 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a bit of reverence, librarians carefully wind an antique library clock near the circulation desk in a temple of learning called the Providence Athenaeum.

This is one of the oldest libraries in the United States, a 19th-century library with the soul of a 21st-century rave party. In fact, the Rhode Island institution has been called a national model for civic engagement....

Read (or better listen to) it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBooksHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2012 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” – a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. -- Camilo José Vergara

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take a look, from Joachim Patinir (?)(1485-1524).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphany* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted January 8, 2012 at 4:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A chill wind snapped around the base of the massive concrete statue of Christ, arms outstretched, that rises more than 118 feet into the sky above this small town in western Poland.

"It gives you a very religious feeling, especially because it's Christmastime," said Waldemar Kierzkowski, who this week visited the towering year-old image that has become a lightning rod in Poland's culture war.

Mr. Kierzkowski, a 55-year-old car dealer, and his wife, Alina, drove from their home in Goleniow, more than 150 miles away, to shoot a few photos with the gray monument—whose builders say it is the tallest Jesus in the world—soaring behind them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropePoland

1 Comments
Posted December 23, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Matthew Garrett makes a living from the tip of his paintbrush.

The 34-year-old paints nearly every day, re-creating scenes from the Bible and heavenly images of the risen Jesus, Christian saints and angels on wood and canvas. He carries forward the ancient tradition of Orthodox Christian iconography in a modest West Boise, Idaho, house that he shares with his wife, Lisa, and her cat, Cecelia.

Garrett has been commissioned by individuals and churches all over the country over the past 17 years, finding jobs through old-fashioned word-of-mouth and through his website. His work is in several churches, among them, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Boise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchArt* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox Church

3 Comments
Posted November 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the overall U.S. economy seems to be stuck in neutral, there are a few bright spots. One of them is charitable giving to the arts, which was up more than 5 percent last year.

But a new study cautions that much of that support serves audiences that are wealthier and whiter than the country as a whole.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsMusic* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance

1 Comments
Posted October 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Buildings Council of the Church of England will launch their Guide on Commissioning New Art for Churches today (Wednesday, October 19, 2011) at St Stephen Walbrook, London (EC4N 8BN), to encourage parishes to embark on the adventure of commissioning new art for their churches.

Much of the information in the guide is aimed at parishes, but it will also provide an insight for artists and other interested parties. It is not only promoting the commissioning of artwork such as painting, stained glass or sculpture, but also wants parishes to consider other options such as kneelers, processional crosses or vestments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

8 Comments
Posted October 19, 2011 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Microsites are not new to higher ed Web strategy. But as the creeping aesthetics of the app world make traditional college websites appear tedious, some institutions have begun experimenting with more offbeat microsites to collect information from prospective students and alumni.

"While these have always been around, one of the big differences now is that these sites often have a more cutting-edge, radical design," says Mark Greenfield, director of Web services in enrollment and planning at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a consultant at the higher ed consulting firm Noel-Levitz.

"It's as if the creative folk living in a straitjacket of the 'official' design format suddenly find themselves with no constraints at all," says Bob Johnson, president of the higher ed marketing firm Bob Johnson Consulting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBlogging & the InternetEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During Rembrandt's long, tumultuous career, something happened that changed his thinking about the depiction of Jesus. When Rembrandt was in his early 40s, he shifted from turbulent scenes from the Gospel, full of sharp light and emphatic gestures, to smaller, contemplative groupings. Was the change connected to the loss in 1642 of his beloved wife Saskia, just 30 years old, and the death in infancy of three of their four children? Was the shift tied to his mounting problems with money? Long the acknowledged master of rich surfaces and roiling tableaux, Rembrandt in middle age appears to have gone in search of a consoling Christ, quieter, more meditative, somebody who would listen.

You can plot the evolution of his thinking in two versions he produced of The Supper at Emmaus, depicting an episode from the Gospel of Luke in which a pair of disciples on the road to a village outside Jerusalem are joined by a stranger....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyChristology

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Posted August 23, 2011 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1956 the architect Sir Basil Spence commissioned stained-glass windows as part of the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by wartime bombing in 1940. Spence took a holistic approach, noting in an academic paper at the time that, "I am against the inclusion of stained glass as an afterthought, and I believe that the architect as leader of the team should collaborate at the earliest possible stage with his engineers and artists." Lee was one of three glass artists who designed the series of 10 nave windows, representing a pilgrimage through life, from infancy to maturity and fulfilment in the afterworld. John Willis, archivist and art historian at Coventry Cathedral, observes that "...Lee, with the two other members of the team, Keith New and Geoffrey Clarke, created a symbolic language of colour and light, combining figurative motifs and abstract forms in a way that is at once beautiful and spiritually moving in its expression of the Christian message."

Coventry established Lee's reputation and led to a wide range of projects, nationally and internationally....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2011 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Our Savior, an Episcopal parish on rural Johns Island, was established a little more than 30 years ago to serve the growing populations on the nearby barrier islands of Kiawah and Seabrook.

Its austere interior contains unintentionally Celtic elements, especially the cross inside a circle, which has pagan-Druid origins. When the Rev. Michael Clarkson arrived at Our Savior three years ago from England, where he had been forming Anglican congregations and working for the Church of England for two decades, the Celtic characteristics of his new parish immediately were evident.

And soon he understood why a Celtic theme, which emphasizes the connections between faith and nature, was appropriate for his new parish home.

Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

0 Comments
Posted June 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did Christ really have awesome abs? Western art has frequently stumbled over the contradiction between the ascetic figure of Jesus of Nazareth and the iconography of Christ inspired by the heroic, Hellenistic ideal: Christ as beautiful, tall and broad-shouldered, God's wide receiver; blue-eyed, fair-haired, a straight aquiline nose, Christ as European prince.

Rembrandt van Rijn, in a career rich with artistic innovation, begged to differ. A new exhibition at Paris's Louvre museum—and coming to Philadelphia and Detroit later this year—shows in dozens of oils, charcoal sketches and oak-panel studies how the 17th-century Dutch painter virtually reinvented the depiction of Jesus and arrived at a more realistic portrait.

As "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" shows, before Rembrandt painters tended to reiterate the conventional imagery of Christ. Catalog authors Larry Silver, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Shelley Perlove, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, call this "the predictable majesty" of the subject.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFranceThe Netherlands

2 Comments
Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Worthy of reflection.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchArt

0 Comments
Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An interesting portrayal--check it out.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchArt

0 Comments
Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘It’s the pearl of great price,’ says Jonathan Ruffer. Like the merchant in the Gospel, he is selling all that he hath. With the proceeds, he is buying the 12 Zurbaran paintings of Jacob and his Brothers at Auckland Castle, the palace of the Bishop of Durham. And when he has bought them from the Church of England, he will give them back, keeping them in the castle, thus bestowing them upon the people of the north-east in perpetuity. The price is £15 million. He believes in the Big Society and is taking a big punt on it.

Ruffer, who is 59, is a very successful private client fund manager. He is famous for having foreseen the credit crunch, largely by careful study of past crises. ‘I know more about the history of economics than anyone I know,’ he boasts, though, on the subject of his benefaction he is so unboastful as to be almost abject. The credit crunch was the moment when people suddenly stopped trusting their bank deposits. The next big crunch, which he sees as ‘certain’, and which could happen in Britain first, is that trust in the value of the currency will collapse, leading to hyperinflation: ‘It is an airless valley from which there is no escape.’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

1 Comments
Posted March 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For centuries the words Church and culture were all but synonymous. This close linkage posted challenges for both culture and Church, but it gave artists the opportunity to ply their craft with the patronage of the Church, and to express their faith through their art. With the collapse of Christendom, these connections have frayed or broken. The disconnect has become so pervasive that many outside the Church, while not hostile, are unconcerned with faith in general or Christianity in particular. The Church has more recently wrestled the dragon of relevance: Do Christians still have anything to offer culture?

With its new St. George’s Institute of Church and Cultural Life, St. George’s Church, Nashville, aims to slay the dragon of relevance by equipping Christians to engage with culture in meaningful and lasting ways. The institute sponsored its first conference, “C3: Christ, Church and Culture,” Feb. 24-26 in Nashville. Far from being another in a long line of Christian quests for relevance, the conference explored deeper questions surrounding the interface of culture and faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

2 Comments
Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” – a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. -- Camilo José Vergara

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2011 at 8:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners are pressing ahead with the sale of a historic set of paintings and are yet to make a decision about the fate of Auckland Castle.

The commissioners, who look after the Church of England’s assets, were at the castle yesterday to listen to views about whether it should remain as the home and office of the next Bishop of Durham.

But of the Zurbaran paintings, the commissioners’ secretary, Andrew Brown, said: “We are certainly pressing ahead with the sale.”

The set of 13 paintings, which have hung in the castle for 260 years and represent a plea for religious tolerance, are likely to be auctioned in the summer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchArt

10 Comments
Posted January 7, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is an architectural absurdity. Just south of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Muslim world’s holiest site, a kitsch rendition of London’s Big Ben is nearing completion. Called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, it will be one of the tallest buildings in the world, the centerpiece of a complex that is housing a gargantuan shopping mall, an 800-room hotel and a prayer hall for several thousand people. Its muscular form, an unabashed knockoff of the original, blown up to a grotesque scale, will be decorated with Arabic inscriptions and topped by a crescent-shape spire in what feels like a cynical nod to Islam’s architectural past. To make room for it, the Saudi government bulldozed an 18th-century Ottoman fortress and the hill it stood on.

The tower is just one of many construction projects in the very center of Mecca, from train lines to numerous luxury high-rises and hotels and a huge expansion of the Grand Mosque. The historic core of Mecca is being reshaped in ways that many here find appalling, sparking unusually heated criticism of the authoritarian Saudi government.

“It is the commercialization of the house of God,” said Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who founded a research center that studies urban planning issues surrounding the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and has been one of the development’s most vocal critics. “The closer to the mosque, the more expensive the apartments. In the most expensive towers, you can pay millions” for a 25-year leasing agreement, he said. “If you can see the mosque, you pay triple.”

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSaudi Arabia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

9 Comments
Posted December 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Me! Me! Me! That is the cry, now often heard, as history is retold. Tell my story, in my way! Give me the attention I deserve! Haven’t you neglected me, blinded by your own perspectives? Now let history be told not by the victors but by people over whom it has trampled.

And why, after all, should it be any different? Isn’t that the cry made by most of us? We want to be acknowledged, given credit for our unique experiences. We want to tell our stories. We want to convert you from your own narrow views to our more capacious perspective.

I am exaggerating slightly — but only slightly. In recent years, I have been chronicling the evolution of the “identity museum” or “identity exhibition,” designed to affirm a particular group’s claims, outline its accomplishments, boost its pride and proclaim, “We must tell our own story!”

Read it all (Hat tip: Elizabeth).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 30, 2010 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious God, we offer thanks for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn, whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a sacramental understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism; and we pray that we may honor thy gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchArchitectureArt

4 Comments
Posted December 16, 2010 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The five-story museum next to Independence Mall, scheduled to open Nov. 26, is dedicated to chronicling 350 years of Jewish life in America and establishing a home base for scholarly meetings and community discussions.

But The Philadelphia Inquirer says officials had to decide whether to open on Saturdays, even though Jewish law forbids work and commercial transactions on the Sabbath. The alternative was closing on the day and turning away thousands of visitors — as well as up to a quarter of the anticipated admission revenue.

Michael Rosenzweig, the museum's president and chief executive officer, says there was "not a simple answer."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* Theology

2 Comments
Posted October 18, 2010 at 8:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For once, the quaint museum on Lincoln Avenue was all quiet. A sign inside was the only indication of the recent trouble.

“This piece was destroyed by an act of violence and is no longer on exhibit,” the sign read.

For weeks now, this bucolic northern Colorado city of just over 60,000, which has a vibrant arts community, has been bitterly divided over the controversial artwork that once sat in the empty display of the Loveland Museum Gallery where the sign now rests.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristology

11 Comments
Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gauguin first showed his mature style of solid, simplified shapes and bold, non-naturalistic colour in Vision of the Sermon. It was 1888, he was 40, and, unknown to himself, had under 15 years to live.

The painting is on show in London at the Tate Modern's "Gauguin: Maker of Myth". It belongs to the National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, where I usually look at it when I'm in the city.

It is a striking image, with its red ground and clumped white head-dresses in the foreground. But, stranger is its Christian religious theme. Gauguin drew up a scathing critique of the Catholic Church, summarised in L'esprit moderne et le catholicisme, written in 1898 in Tahiti. In it, he lambasted the blindness of Catholicism in the face of the rational claims of true science.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At this moment of national religious anxiety, it’s tempting to ask what would happen if other religious rituals were turned inside out and opened to public view. If the people behind the proposed Park51 Islamic cultural complex had put all their plans forward and invited the entire city to comment, could outside observers have made them sound so scary? One of the Sukkah City architects wrote about the goal of making a structure “transparent enough to be inclusive, but dense enough to create a sense of belonging.” Inshallah.

I returned to Union Square Park on Wednesday night, as the actual holiday began, worried that the winning (and by then only remaining) structure might have devolved into a battleground, with different tribes of Jews trying to lay public claim to it. But I found no black hats and gray beards wielding prayer books. No blissed-out Israeli ravers eating organic produce from Whole Foods. No observance of any kind. The sukkah was roped off and ignored.

It seemed sad that a competition that spawned such excitement about design and open-mindedness made no effort to also support actual religious practice. But on the Upper West Side, where one of the runner-up sukkahs had been deposited on a sidewalk, a few neighborhood families that discovered it had run home and grabbed food, then reconvened for dinner under the stars.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fans of a boy named Milo, a watchdog called Tock and a pompous Humbug had reason to rejoice on Wednesday — the day that a picture book called The Odious Ogre was released. Written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, the book marks the first time that Juster and Feiffer have collaborated since creating The Phantom Tollbooth together in the early 1960s.

That initial alliance was, at least in part, a matter of circumstance. "We were sharing a duplex in the wrong end of Brooklyn Heights," Juster tells NPR's Liane Hansen. At the time, the writer had a $5,000 grant to write a book on urban design. Instead, he dreamed up The Phantom Tollbooth. Each time he wrote a chapter, he would run to Feiffer's half of the house and excitedly read it to him. Feiffer began to scribble drawings inspired by the story.

The rest is kid-lit history.

Though Ogre has fewer pages and more pictures than Tollbooth, Juster is wary of labeling it a book for younger readers: "I'm not sure it's for younger kids," he says. "I'm not sure it's for older kids or even adults. I think it's just a good story."

Read or listen to it all and make sure not to miss the spectacular illustration of the ogre throwing a tantrum.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBooksChildren

5 Comments
Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may find information about it here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchArt* International News & CommentaryAfricaZimbabwe

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2010 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There's no steeple out front, no rows of pews inside, not even so much as a crucifix on display.

Still, this cramped little art studio in the middle of what, until not very long ago, was a street with as many broken dreams as it has potholes, is the closest thing to paradise Father Bill Moore has found. It's the place where the 60-year-old Catholic priest serves God by creating abstract paintings that he sells by the hundreds.

No ordinary preacher, Father Bill, as he's known throughout Pomona's fledgling arts district, long ago discarded his clerical collar in favor of a painter's smock. Only on Sundays does he trade it for holy vestments to deliver Mass at a local church or one of several detention facilities for youthful offenders.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted December 30, 2009 at 6:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Quite something--check it out (hat tip: Selimah).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtChildren

4 Comments
Posted December 30, 2009 at 9:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emma Thompson may be best known for the stories she's been part of on screen and stage, but now she wants to tell you a different sort of tale. It's the story of a young girl, Elena, who was forced into the global sex industry.

Elena is from a small town in the Eastern European republic of Moldova. At the age of 18, she was promised a job and a future in the U.K. When she arrived, she was made into a prostitute.

Thompson, who met Elena through her involvement with a group that works to help survivors of such experiences, has curated and championed an art installation inspired by Elena's story. It's called Journey, and it has its New York opening this November. The installation comprises seven shipping containers, each designed by a different artist to interpret one part of what Thompson calls Elena's "journey into hell."

Thompson tells Scott Simon that she was immediately drawn to Elena — to protect her privacy, NPR isn't using Elena's last name — because "she's a survivor, and most survivors are extraordinary people." As they got to know each other better, however, one of Elena's qualities struck a particularly special chord with Thompson: "Her capacity to tell this story whilst laughing and smiling and being positive about it and herself."

I caught this by accident this morning on the way to the grocery store and it is still haunting me. Take the time to listen to it all (about 8 1/2 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtSexualityTeens / YouthWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted October 31, 2009 at 5:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

--Mark 14:72

Rembrandt's The denial of Peter leapt to my mind this morning again while perusing this.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArt* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 1, 2009 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Traditional Anglicans have criticised the UK's major Christian arts festival for inviting a gay American Bishop to speak.

Among those addressing the Greenbelt festival this year is the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, a gay man whose ordination by the Episcopalian Church was greeted with both outrage and celebration in various parts of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Many people did not welcome his elevation, and the issue of gay clergy has become so contentious that it threatens to divide global Anglicans - some say it has already begun.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 28, 2009 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A professionally trained musician who has performed extensively as a pianist, oboist, and conductor, Jeremy Begbie considers himself first a scholar and professor of theology.

“I’m basically a theologian who frequently works in the arts, not an artist who dabbles in theology,” says Begbie, who joined the Divinity School in January as the inaugural Thomas A. Langford research professor of theology.

A native of Great Britain, Begbie will maintain his ties with Cambridge University, where he is a senior member of Wolfson College and an affiliated lecturer in the faculty of divinity and the faculty of music. Among his priorities as director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts is developing collaborative programs between the two institutions.

Begbie is the author of Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts (T & T Clark); Theology, Music and Time (CUP), and most recently, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Baker/SPCK), which won the Christianity Today 2008 Book Award in the theology/ethics category.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtMusicReligion & Culture* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted July 1, 2009 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Simple and to the point.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & Culture

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Posted May 18, 2009 at 8:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is it or isn’t it a Michelangelo? That is the question being pondered by art experts after the Italian state spent 3.3 million euros, or $4.2 million, last year to buy a small wooden crucifix attributed to that Renaissance genius.

Works by Michelangelo don’t come up for sale often, but the occasional drawing has nabbed as much as $20 million at auction. By comparison, the linden wood crucifix, which was sold by the Turin antiques dealer Giancarlo Gallino, is a bargain.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchArt* International News & CommentaryEuropeItaly

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Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ed Knippers was Washington's home-grown Michelangelo — a painter of larger-than-life biblical scenes known for their physicality and passion.

But his nude Davids, Bathshebas, Mary Magdalenes, Samsons and Delilahs have gotten limited acceptance in conservative circles. When he exhibited his work at Huntington College, an evangelical school in Indiana, there were so many complaints from students and the outside community that the college closed the exhibit after five days.

"Some Christians tend to be orthodox in their theology but emotionally they are gnostics," he told me last week. "They do not like that physical stuff. But we have an incarnational religion and you have to get past that. In art, we can come to grips with our physicality and human possibilities in our body. That's all we have here."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted October 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said the works of Shakespeare or Milton could not have been written without the English translation of the Bible and the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, while great paintings and pieces of music were inspired by Christianity and made to be showcased in churches and cathedrals.

Yet he claimed many people are now ignorant of the religious background to our culture.

The bishop, a prominent conservative in the Church of England who boycotted this year's gathering of Anglican Communion leaders in the ongoing row over homosexuality, said the church should do more to ensure schools, television companies and radio channels educate their audiences.

His comments, part of a speech he gave to members of the Prayer Book Society, come after he warned that Britishness itself is being destroyed by the decline of Christian values, creating a "moral vacuum" that is being filled by radical Islam.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchArtPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted September 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it was over, the grump Saran-wrapped my torso and told me how to take care of my new tattoo. I was barely listening, and I left with a spring in my step. I was happy because the pain had stopped, and because I thought I had somehow outwitted my own sinful nature. I’d made a promise to myself that I could not break without the help of a very skilled dermatologist and as many hours of pain as it took to put it there in the first place.

But the spring was fading by the time I got to 110th street, to the friend’s apartment where I was staying. And the next morning, when I woke and discovered that I had made a large and permanent dragon imprint upon his very fancy sheets, the whole thing already seemed like folly. Questions occurred to me like: Why did I get it on my back, where I won’t even see it? Why did it have to be so big? And why can’t I just look at the sun and the clouds and remember that someone wanted me to be good, or that someone thought I could be?

The great regret lasted no longer than the euphoria, and what settled in me was a combination of the two. But the experience made me more distrustful of making such a covenant with myself. A covenant is about security, but if I am good it is probably because I am spiritually insecure. Maybe instead of trying to quiet my unease, I should learn to live creatively with the fact that I am almost never sure about the right thing to do.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

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Posted May 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hackers have turned their attention to search engines in the latest attempt to invade the computers of unsuspecting Web users.

In the past few weeks, they have taken advantage of Web pages that incorrectly use JavaScript, a computer language used in features like interactive maps, to infect thousands of sites. The altered sites show up in a Google search, and when clicked on, redirect the user to a malicious program that aims to steal information.

One goal is to infect users' computers, possibly by installing a device to capture keystrokes, and therefore passwords and other sensitive information.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBlogging & the Internet

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Posted April 2, 2008 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The words “sculpture park” bring the rolling expanses of Orange County to mind (Storm King Art Center) or, at least, the river’s edge in Queens (Socrates Sculpture Park). They do not instantly conjure up the traffic-jammed corner of Varick and Canal Streets.

Yet that is where New York’s newest sculpture park will be established: on a recently cleared block owned by the Episcopal Trinity Church, paralleling Juan Pablo Duarte Square on the Avenue of the Americas.

“When they’re idling in traffic trying to get through the Holland Tunnel, they’ll have something to look at,” said Maggie Boepple, the president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which will curate the sculpture park on behalf of Trinity Real Estate, managers of the church’s extensive holdings downtown.

“It’s a tremendous gift to the city,” Ms. Boepple said.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted March 10, 2008 at 8:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Faith and technology have met at St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton, where two Scouts, a sculptor and parish leaders combined their talents to transform an outdoor stroll into a spiritual experience.

Eagle Scout Zach Wright, of Sparks, built and installed 14 wooden shrines along a path behind the church. During Lent, they hold sculptures by Alex Hallmark, of Blowing Rock, N.C., depicting the Stations of the Cross.

Debra Donnelly-Barton, director of the Center for Spiritual Development at St. James, wrote and recorded meditations on each station and transferred them to iPods, devices most frequently used to download music from the Internet. And Eagle Scout candidate Chris DiFatta, of Baldwin, made benches and informational signs.

St. James parishioners and visitors are invited to meet the creative team and walk the loop Saturday, March 8, at 9 a.m.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted March 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

WE’VE all heard the tales of the apple falling on Newton’s head and Archimedes leaping naked from his bath shrieking “Eureka!” Many of us have even heard that eBay was created by a guy who realized that he could help his fiancée sell Pez dispensers online.

The fact that all three of these epiphany stories are pure fiction stops us short. As humans, we want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance, with great thunderclaps and echoing ahas. Innovators and other creative types, we believe, stand apart from the crowd, wielding secrets and magical talents beyond the rest of us.

Balderdash. Epiphany has little to do with either creativity or innovation. Instead, innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time.

“The most useful way to think of epiphany is as an occasional bonus of working on tough problems,” explains Scott Berkun in his 2007 book, “The Myths of Innovation.” “Most innovations come without epiphanies, and when powerful moments do happen, little knowledge is granted for how to find the next one. To focus on the magic moments is to miss the point. The goal isn’t the magic moment: it’s the end result of a useful innovation.”

Who knew? Thomas Edison, call your office. Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtMusicScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

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Posted February 5, 2008 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal priest hunches over a worn wooden table at the front of the church. She scrutinizes her masterpiece -- God's masterpiece, she says -- and is calm but careful as she fills in razor-thin "kitty whisker lines" on a piece of art that looks finished to the untrained eye.

But the icon, which is a painted scene from Scripture, is not finished, and it's much more than art. It's a way to have a one-on-one conversation with God, if you ask the Rev. Elizabeth Lilly.

Lilly's friends and family consider her an unfinished icon, made up of strokes of faith and resilience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted January 3, 2008 at 12:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

FRED DE SAM LAZARO, guest anchor: For much of modern times, it seems, artists have parked their spirituality outside the studio, outside the gallery. Our next story takes us to a retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico, intended to bring back what one organizer calls "the intimate relationship between art and faith."

Judy Valente has our report.

JUDY VALENTE: Santa Fé: a city whose spiritual heritage dates back to the Native Americans and Spanish missionaries; a place of stunning natural beauty -- home to more than 250 artists' galleries; a city where the spiritual and artistic come together easily.

Each summer, hundreds of artists from across the country journey here to St. John's College, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, for what's called the Glen Workshop -- a weeklong gathering sponsored by the literary journal "Image."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture

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Posted August 25, 2007 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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