Blackfriars Gallery: Art Exhibits and Performances
See the Blackfriars Gallery Events page for all Art Exhibits and Performances past, present, and upcoming.
As a locus where the Catholic tradition engages contemporary culture, DSPT makes intentional use of open space throughout its campus – both inside and outside – as a means to foster conversations. The chapel has glass doors which open up onto the "great lawn," reminding participants that prayer and worship are intended to "spill out" into the community and to "open us up" to share the fruits of our contemplation (contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere). Similarly, the largest of the three DSPT classrooms is equipped as a multimedia environment allowing faculty and students to reach out beyond the physical parameters to connect with those around the world, whether through viewing of a movie, artwork, or online conferencing.
Originally a worship space for a local Jewish community, the upper level of the west building possesses an expansiveness ideally suited to foster gatherings. While the lobby provides a horizontal venue, high-ceilinged walls allow for the possibility of a vertical meeting place, where visitors may engage works of art not simply as objects on display but as a catalyst for conversation – between artist and viewer; between the subject matter and the academy; and between the Human and the Divine.
Creating an open space for the fine arts is not a unique or casual interest of DSPT. Almost from its inception, the Dominican Order has committed itself to the interplay between religion and the arts as a means of training for and advancing its preaching mission. Many Dominicans have also made significant contributions to the fine arts: from Fra Angelico (patron of Christian artists) and Fra Bartolommeo of 15th century Europe to contemporary Dominicans such as California poet, William Everson (Brother Antoninus); mid-West sculptor, Thomas McGlynn, O.P.; Canadian painter, Gaston Petit, O.P.; and California photographer Adele Rowland, O.P., to name a few.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has expressed in various ways a desire to see the fine arts incorporated into the professional and theological education of seminarians. This desire was neither passing nor casual, but fundamental to both the ministerial and administrative roles of the clergy. Building upon these principles, Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called upon both artists and clergy to see the fine arts as a vital tool for evangelizing the contemporary culture.
In the concluding document for its 2006 plenary session, the Pontifical Council for Culture summarized much of what these two popes have written in this regard, noting, “When a work of faith-inspired art is offered to the public within its religious function, it is a "via", a "pathway of evangelisation and dialogue," it gives a taste of the faith itself, at the same time as of the living patrimony of Christianity. … It is a matter of creating the conditions for a renewal of artistic creation in the Christian community, and forming effective links with artists to help them capture what makes works of art authentically religious and sacred art” (see Pontifical Council for Culture, “TheVia Pulchritudinis, Privileged Pathway for Evangelization and Dialog,” March 27-38, 2006, III.2.C).
The Western Dominican Province has continued this tradition in various ways throughout its own history: Metropolitan Summer Theater, Blackfriars of the West, the Priory Players, the Pilgrim Friars, the Santa Fe Institute, and here at DSPT, Blackfriars Gallery.
Blackfriars Gallery is committed to the presentation of quality art as a means to generate dialogue between our DSPT community and contemporary culture. While preference is given to qualified Dominicans and members of DSPT, any artist is welcome to submit a proposal.
GUIDELINES FOR ARTISTS
The Blackfriars Gallery Review Committee receives proposals in an ongoing manner. All proposals must be in writing and should be directed to the Committee Chair, Fr. Chris Renz. The location and length of the exhibit will depend upon galleria scheduling as determined by the Committee.
Artists must submit either slides or a DVD demonstrating their work along with a one-page summary which must include the artist's name; title of the exhibit; type of medium; proposed dates for the exhibit; and its relevance to the mission and goals of DSPT. Proposals are reviewed in an ongoing manner by the Gallery Committee. Once the proposal has been accepted for showing at DSPT, the artist must sign the statement of liability.