On four Wednesdays in April, experts will explore ways in which the sacred finds expression in the symbolism of Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu works of art. The series offers the opportunity to view profound artistic expressions at some of the region’s most important museums and places of worship. Each evening offers informal tours of each venue’s collection either before or after the lecture.
Wednesday, April 7 - Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive
6 pm: Informal tours
7 pm: “Artistic Expressions in World Religions” by Wilson Yates, president emeritus and professor emeritus of religion, society, and the arts, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis
8:15 pm: opening night reception
Wednesday, April 14 - Skirball Museum Cincinnati at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 3101 Clifton Avenue
6 pm: Informal tours
7 pm: “The Jewish Bible in Christian Renaissance Art: Why It’s There and What It Means” by Michael J. Cook, Sol and Adele Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, and professor of intertestamental and early Christian literatures, HUC-JIR, Cincinnati
Wednesday, April 21 - Hindu Temple of Greater Cincinnati, 4920 Klatte Road
7 pm: “Hindu Deities and Their Artistic Expression” by Stephen Knapp, researcher, author, and lecturer, Detroit.
8 pm: Tour of Temple
Wednesday, April 28 - Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, 8092 Plantation Drive
7 pm: “Writing God’s Word: The Qur’an and Art” by Sheila S. Blair, Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art, Boston College and Hamad bin Khalifa Chair of Islamic Art, Virginia Commonwealth University
8 pm: Tour of Mosque
The Search for the Spiritual Through Art lecture series originated in 1995 under the title Artistic Expressions of Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to enhance interfaith relations by examining the connections between spirituality and art. Offered every other year, previous series have explored how religious beliefs and traditions are manifested through devotional art, architectural motifs, ceremonial objects, sacred spaces, illuminated manuscripts, and images of women.
In past years, the series has focused on the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In response to audience comments, this year’s series welcomes representatives from the Hindu Temple of Greater Cincinnati to the steering committee, and offers a lecture at the Temple that addresses artistic expressions of the Hindu religion.
Dr. James Buchanan, Director of the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University says of the series, “This is a truly unique program. It not only brings the religious communities into dialogue about very interesting subjects but it also brings together most of the major artistic institutions of Cincinnati along with educational institutions, mosques and temples. This year we have added the Hindu Temple to the group which will add a very new dimension. We really hope the public will avail themselves of the opportunity to interact with some extremely interesting speakers and to view the art collections at some of our finest local institutions.”
The Search for the Spiritual Through Art is sponsored by the Fine Arts Fund, the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, and the Very Rev. James A. Diamond. The lecture series is presented by the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University, the Hindu Temple of Greater Cincinnati, the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, the Office of Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University, the Skirball Museum Cincinnati at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Taft Museum of Art.
Series cost for the general public is $50 or $16 per lecture. For members of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Hindu Temple of Greater Cincinnati, and Skirball Museum, series cost is $25, or $8 per lecture. Students are free with school ID. Seniors pay $10 per lecture or $30 for the series. Reservations are required. Call 513-721-ARTS or visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.