Artistic expression meets religious identity

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Think about what it means to express one’s faith. Do acts like sacred scripture or prayer come to mind? What about painting, drawing, singing or writing poetry?

The Art of Faith event will showcase a number of students who go beyond traditional forms of religious expression in honoring their faith through a variety of artistic forms. The event will take place on March 7 at 6 p.m. in California Lutheran University’s Lundring Events Center.

Making the event a reality has been a lengthy process according to senior Eric Foster, a religion department assistant at CLU. The idea to have an event in which students could present their faith-inspired works was conceived several semesters ago when the time and resources were not available.

The Art of Faith event was made possible through a collaboration of the English and religion departments. It will have approximately 11 presenters ranging from musical performances, visual art and poetry readings.

“The goal is to expose students to the numerous ways faith can be represented and art is one of those ways. We wanted to show how rich that can be,” Foster said. “We really just want the students to be empowered and comfortable to express themselves.”

Tori Dahl, a senior double majoring in English and biology, has been writing poetry since the age of 8 and will present pieces of poetry at the event.

Dahl said that her Lutheran faith is often a theme within her poems and involves asking deeper questions like, “How does God fit into my life?”

“Poetry has always been my favorite mode of expression. I’m an introvert struggling to become an extrovert, but poetry has always been the way that I can process my thoughts more deeply,” Dahl said.

Courtney Bartlett, a freshman English major, will present one painting and three drawings at the event and believes that her love for art is a gift from God.

“My art isn’t inspired by anything biblical, but I do think God gave me art. I know it’s the Lord bringing me something that gives me so much joy,” Bartlett said.

For Bartlett, being an English major presenting art is just as unique as presenting faith in art.

“A lot of the time, English majors and art is a combination that’s really hidden. Art is what I’m so passionate about along with English.

It’s my thing. It got me through hard stuff and if I didn’t have that in my life, I don’t know where I’d be,” Bartlett said.

The Art of Faith event will not only allow participating students the opportunity to share their work, but also give students attending a chance to view religious expression in a new light. Students will also be able to meet the artists and hear live performances.

“I find it always valuable when I get to hear other people’s opinions, so being able to share my thoughts is exciting,” Dahl said. “It’ll be nice to have people possibly learn something about how they can express their faith through me or get to experience another aspect of faith.”

 

Monica Linares
Staff Writer
Published March 5, 2014