Biola University will welcome renowned artists and thinkers from around the world to campus March 1–4 for its 7th annual Arts Symposium — a free four-day event featuring a major art exhibition, musical performances and seminars on art and faith. The event, part of the university’s “Year of the Arts,” will be hosted by writer and philanthropist Roberta Ahmanson, and include such notable speakers as Nicholas Wolterstorff, Ben Quash and Elizabeth Lev. All events are open to the public.
Centered around the theme “Art and Sacred Space: Spatial Encounters with God,” the symposium will examine ways that sacred space is being experienced, created, shaped and discussed in today’s society. Its purpose is to stimulate dialogue among Christians and non-Christians alike regarding the relationship between art and faith, involving experts from a wide range of disciplines.
Concurrent with the symposium, attendees will be able to tour “Twentieth-Century British Art from the Ahmanson Collection,” an exhibition on display in the Biola University Art Gallery. The exhibition, on display at Biola through March 10, includes major works by some of the most important and beloved 20th century British artists, including Stanley Spencer, Eric Gill, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra and Graham Sutherland. Docent tours are provided Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon and 12:30 p.m.
Symposium sessions include:
• Joel Kotkin on “Shaping Cities: the Necessity for Sacred Space in Urban Environments,” Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Kotkin is an internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends, having been described by The New York Times as America’s “uber-geographer.”
• Nicholas Wolterstorff on “Sacred Places, Sacred Space,” Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.
• Ben Quash on “Art As a Theological Medium,” Friday, 9:30 a.m. Quash is a professor of Christianity and the arts at King’s College London, where he runs an M.A. program in association with the National Gallery of Art, London.
• Roundtable discussion on “The Most Challenging Issues Confronting Artists of Faith Today,” Friday, 2 p.m.
• Elizabeth Lev on “The Development of the Christian Sacred Space in Rome, the Cradle of Christian Architecture,” Friday, 7 p.m. Lev is an American-born art historian living in Rome, where she is on faculty at Duquesne University’s Italian campus program.
• Father Hugh Barbour on “A Sacramental Vision of Sacred Space,” Friday, 7 p.m. Barbour is the prior of St. Michael’s Abbey in Orange County, where he teaches both Augustinian studies and philosophy.
• Compline (prayers at the end of the day), chanted by The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey, Friday evening.
• Dayton Castleman on “Burning Bushes: Sacred Space in the Wilderness,” Saturday, 9:15 a.m. Castleman, a professor at Trinity Christian College, is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, curator, writer and choreographer whose artwork has been presented in museums and galleries across the United States and Europe.
• Ben Quash on “What Sacred Space Can Show Us About God,” Saturday, 9:15 a.m.
• Anna M.R. Freeman on “Exploring Structural Space: Evocations of Longing, Memory and Eternity,” Saturday, 2 p.m. Freeman is a London-based artist whose work has appeared in many international exhibitions.
• Linnea Spransy on “Thin Space: Quantum Complexity, Fractals, Freewill and Other Everyday Conundrums,” Saturday, 2 p.m. Spransy, who graduated from Yale in 2001 with an MFA in painting, has exhibited her work throughout the United States and internationally at numerous academic institutions.
• Jeremiah Enna on “The First Sacred Space,” Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Enna is founder and executive director of The Culture House in Kansas City, an award-winning community-based arts organization.
• Ruth Naomi Floyd on “Holy Fire: the Soul of African-American Sacred Music,” Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Floyd is a gifted vocalist-composer who has been creating vocal jazz settings that express Christian theology for almost 20 years.
• “An Unforgettable Evening of the Arts” featuring Ruth Naomi Floyd and Störling Dance Theater, Saturday, 7 p.m.
• Special “Arts in Worship” Service: We Are Standing on Holy Ground, Sunday, 10 a.m. Featuring Roberta Ahmanson, Störling Dance Theater, Ruth Naomi Floyd, the Biola Conservatory of Music, Ben Quash, Elizabeth Lev and others.
For additional information about the Biola University 7th annual Arts Symposium or the Year of the Arts, visit the symposium’s website at http://news.biola.edu/yota/symposium/