Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thomas More College Launches Sacred Art Program

I received this last week and admittedly forgot about it until now. I met David Clayton while in Oxford a couple of years back and we had some very interesting conversations about sacred art and architecture.

(David Clayton)

Thomas More College Launches Sacred Art Program

(Merrimack, New Hampshire)- The Thomas More College officially launched its Way of Beauty Art Program with the arrival of its new Artist-in-Residence last week.

David Clayton, a leading artist from Great Britain, is trained as both an iconographer and in the Western naturalistic tradition. He will spearhead the program, which will include on-campus lectures and mentorships, and may ultimately evolve into a fine arts major being offered at the College.

"The preservation of the sacred Catholic artistic tradition will be my guiding light as I serve Thomas More College and the Holy Catholic Church. I am especially looking forward to mentoring this generation of Catholic artists so that they can contribute to a new flourishing of the traditions of their predecessors, producing art that adheres to the timeless and sacred principles that comprise beautiful art, and which moves the hearts of those who see it to love of God and fellow man," Clayton said. "I am especially grateful to President Jeff Nelson for giving me the chance to share his vision and dreams. I am excited to work with him in his untiring efforts to reinvigorate the culture today so that it is may once more be committed to a culture of beauty and, through this program, contribute to a reawakening of sacred art."

Nelson is excited about the prospects of the Way of Beauty Program as well.

"Mr. Clayton's intellect, artistic skills, and creative talents will go a long way in renewing culture in our time. His knowledge, artistic ability, and strong faith in God and His Church will allow him to lend 21st century relevance to timeless artistic principles and historically significant Catholic works," Nelson said. "Through this program, Thomas More College will begin renewing the great tradition of sacred art and create a new generation of artists that can produce art that serves Christ. The College will preserve the sacred traditions that influenced the production of many classical pieces of art through the centuries."

The Way of Beauty Program will explore the vital role art plays in developing human spirituality. The Program will work toward creating a new generation of aspiring artists and patrons of the arts by teaching them practical art skills, the talent to apprehend beauty, and the ability to open up to inspiration from God. It will foster an understanding and appreciation of naturalism, iconography, abstract art, and art theory.

The College will continue to build this program by attracting aspiring artists to enroll in the school's four-year undergraduate program so they can receive the strong academic formation in the Catholic faith necessary to produce sacred art. Those students would also participate in mentorships with Clayton in the College's newly established art studio. Ultimately, the College hopes to offer a major in fine arts with the final two years of coursework dedicated primarily to artistic study.

Clayton is a graduate of Oxford University, having earned a B.A. in Materials Science and an M.A. in Engineering. Combining his knowledge of natural geometry and physics with art technique, he completed traditional art training in the Florentine academy of Italy becoming specialized in Byzantine iconographic and the Western naturalistic traditions. He has had commissions in the United Kingdom and in America including a portrait of St. Luigi Scrosoppi at the London Oratory; a 5-foot cross, gilded and painted on both sides and suspended over the altar at Pluscarden Monastery in Scotland; and the icon of the Sacred Heart commissioned by the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham to commemorate their 25th anniversary. He has designed a program for ResSource School of Art in England and worked closely with staff at the Maryvale Institute in the design of their theory-of-art course. Clayton also writes for Thomas More College's Second Spring: An International Journal of Faith and Culture, and has been an occasional feature writer for The Catholic Herald newspaper in London.

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is a four-year college that provides the rising generation with an education that forms them intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition and with full fidelity to the Magisterium. Additionally, the College has launched entrepreneurial new centers that seek to advance the teachings of the Catholic Church beyond the confines of its campus. These centers include the Vatican Studies Center, the Center for New England Politics and Culture, and the Center for Faith and Culture in Oxford, England.

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