COMPOSING SACRED SPACES (RA-2220)
(09/07/2021-12/17/2021)

Course Memo

‘Art soothes pain! Art wakes up sleepers! Art fights against war & stupidity! ART SINGS HALLELUJA!’ - Peter Schumann, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Glover, VT 1984 Art within the context of a Christian worship space has the potential to be transformative and healing, inspirational and meditative, educational and democratizing. It can be a powerful way to bring us closer to God. The goal of this part-workshop, part-art history course is to prepare and empower students to make aesthetic decisions for their churches and worship spaces by providing historical background and practical tools for locating and commissioning ecclesiastical artists, as well as to create spaces for retreats, meditation, and prayer. We will consider the iconographic content, use, and reception of chapel and shrine decorations, religious statues, icons, textiles, and windows – as well as the virtual sacred spaces that have arisen during the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will meet synchronously (via Zoom) 1x per week and the course will have a dedicated Slack workspace for asynchronous posting and sharing.  Students will be evaluated through a project detailing their own ‘mock-up’ design of a worship space and will be encouraged to visit and write short reflections about various local sacred spaces (pending Covid-19 safety rules). Intended audience: MDiv, ThD, MTS, STD.