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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Artful ideas

How congregations can pursue visual arts and why they should

Since the 1970s Catherine Kapikian has been a stalwart—and sometimes lonely—pioneer in advocating the vital relationship between religious faith and the arts. She is the founder and director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary (United Methodist) in Washington, D.C. She also is an artist of considerable reputation. Trained as a painter, she has worked mostly in the fabric arts. Her works hang in churches and galleries nationwide.

Kapikian has spoken widely about her ideas, but they’ve not previously appeared in collected form. Now Abingdon Press has published Art in the Service of the Sacred (2006), an essential book of her writings, edited by Kathy Black. A welcome feature is an accompanying DVD featuring numerous photographs of her works. Especially dramatic are “before” and “after” sets of transformed church spaces.


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