Annual Sacred Arts Festival Features Artists and Authors, Musicians and Mandala Makers

The University of St. Thomas Sacred Arts Festival, an annual series of events focusing on artistic traditions that explore humanity's understanding of the divine, will feature seven events in April.

The festival, which began at St. Thomas in 1980, traditionally presents a broad range of artistic forms. The theme of this year’s festival is “Contemplation.”

All events are free and open to the public and will be held on the university’s St. Paul campus. They are:

Clive Driskill-Smith

Clive Driskill-Smith

Solo organ concert: English virtuoso organist Clive Driskill-Smith will perform on the Gabriel Kney pipe organ Sunday, April 3, at 3 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Driskill-Smith will perform works of Widor, Bach, Escaich, Howells, Vierne, Walton, Reger and Franck. The concert is presented by the university’s Music Department and the Sacred Arts Festival.

Considered one of the leading organists of his generation, Driskill-Smith is an organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford where he accompanies the choir under the direction of Stephen Darlington. Winner of the Royal College of Organists' Performer of the Year Competition in 2000, he has performed in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Finland, South Africa, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Canada, the United States, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

SAFmandalaMake a mandala Tuesday, April 5, from noon-1 p.m. in Campus Way on the second floor of the Anderson Student Center.

Dr. Angela Broeker, a member of St. Thomas’ music faculty, and artist Carol Lynne Tombers will lead participants as they create mandalas using markers, papers and decorative crystals.

With origins in Indian religions, mandalas are objects that represent the universe and aid in meditation.

Deborah Haynes

Deborah Haynes

Art lecture: Dr. Deborah Haynes, professor emerita of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will discuss “From the Study to the Studio: Creating Contemplative Art” Friday, April 8, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center. Haynes holds a master’s in ceramics from the University of Oregon and a doctorate in religion and art history from Harvard University. Her six books include the 2003 Art Lessons: Meditations on the Creative Life and the 2012 Spirituality and Growth on the Leadership Path: An Abecedary.

The lecture, which will be followed by a reception, is sponsored by St. Thomas’ Art History Department.

Gamelan percussion instruments.

Gamelan percussion instruments

Klenengan: The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of Minnesota will perform a klenengan Monday, April 11, from 7-9 p.m. in the James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall on the third floor of the Anderson Student Center.

A gamelan is a traditional ensemble of percussion instruments and a klenengan is an informal performance of gamelan music for contemplation. The audience is an important component because the listeners and the musicians together make the event.

Those attending are welcome to come and go as you please. Tea will be served.

The Twin Citiesbased Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble was established in 2002 to promote understanding of and appreciation for Indonesian music, dance and culture through education and performances.

Amelia Gray

Amelia Gray

Reading: author Amelia Gray will give a reading Wednesday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the second-floor Great Room of O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center.

A novelist and short-story writer, Gray is the author of AM/PM, Threats and Museum of the Weird. She will read from her latest story collection, Gutshot, featuring stories about grieving townsfolk, bossy ghosts and the redemptive powers of a small-town labyrinth. Each story is a new mystery, a continual search for the divine in the lowest of places.

Gray lives in Los Angeles and her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Times and The New York Times.

The reading is sponsored by the Sacred Arts Festival and the English Department.

St. Mary's Chapel.

St. Mary's Chapel

Choral concert: J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden” will be performed Friday, April 15,  at 7:30 p.m. in St. Mary’s Chapel.

Joining for the performance of Bach’s famous Easter cantata will be the orchestra of the Bach Society of Minnesota together with the combined choirs of Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity Chorale and St. Thomas’ Schola Cantorum.

The director is Paul Boehnke. University Artist-in-Residence Father Jan Michael Joncas will provide theological and musical commentary. The program is sponsored by the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Thomas’ Music Department and the Sacred Arts Festival.

Infrared photo by Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin.

Infrared photo by Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin

Art exhibit: In Their Element: Artists Inspired by Earth, Air, Water and Fire, a first-of-its-kind exhibit for St. Thomas, can be seen in the lobby gallery of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center until May 15. The exhibit features two-dimensional works by four invited artists along with jury-selected, three-dimensional works by seven additional artists.

The invited artists are Bernice Ficek-Swenson, Linda Gammell, Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin and Holly Newton Swift. The jury-selected artists are James Gabbert, Katie Harris, Nancy Hicks, Jesse Lentz, Brighton McCormick, Jane Powers and Eric Riner.

The exhibit was curated by Dr. Shelly Nordtorp-Madson, director of university collections. She was assisted by art history graduate students Alex Kermes and Angie Daniels.

A reception will be held Friday, April 15, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Lobby gallery viewing hours are Mondays to Thursdays 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sundays noon-10 p.m.

A schedule of this year’s Sacred Arts Festival events can be found here.