Monday, July 20, 2009

The Foundation for Sacred Arts

It's thrilling to see the development of new institutions in the Catholic world devoted to promoting beauty and holiness in the arts, and an institution that deserves support and more attention is the Foundation for Sacred Arts. Judging from the material on the website, this organization has great clarity on the nature of the problem and the solution.

The secularization of the art world in the last century has discouraged expression of the Christian faith in contemporary artistic works and has devalued beauty as a central goal of art. At the Foundation for Sacred Arts, we recognize the need to revitalize Christian art and reestablish it as a dynamic and viable expression within the art world. ... The Foundation for Sacred Arts seeks to stimulate a movement in the fine arts by inspiring those with artistic talent to create works of truth, beauty, and goodness. Through the promotion of these works of art, we hope to renew the cultural fabric of the modern world and to bring people to encounter the risen Christ.

Something like this is desperately needed in all areas of art. We have a new generation of organizations focusing on music and architecture and other areas but this institution aspires to have the broadest possible focus. Founded in 2002, the organization hopes to increase its activities in the future. They are sponsoring a composition contest, and already have a traveling exhibit of new works of painting and sculpture.

It is going to take more than organizations and contests, and more than a few years to increase the visibility of the truly beautiful in contemporary art to make a large difference in the Catholic world. But such institutions are necessary, particularly as a means of providing financial support for artists who are dedicated to the task of apply their talents in service of the Catholic faith.

There is an urgent need to begin to shape a culture in the Catholic world that appreciates and values beautiful art once again. The rough patch we've been through for several decades has taken a terrible toll but it is thrilling and inspiring to see efforts underway to address the problem.

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