Tuesday, May 10, 2022

An Organization to Watch - The St Louis IX Art Society in Southern Louisiana

I recently had a long and very interesting conversation with Dr Jordan Haddad, a co-director of the St Louis the IX Art Society. Their website is here; their stated mission is as follows:

The St. Louis IX Art Society (SL9) exists to promote a culture of Catholic art in South Louisiana by creating opportunities for all people to encounter firsthand the beautiful Catholic artwork being created by local artists.

To this end, we host Catholic art events in local dioceses, provide a platform for local Catholic artists to display and promote their work, and beautify under-resourced Catholic parishes, schools, and ministries throughout South Louisiana at no cost to them.

We seek to answer the call of Pope St. John Paul II in his “Letter to Artists” for Christian artists “to use [their] creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God and at the same time into the mystery of man.” In this way, we hope to facilitate a springtime of sacred art in South Louisiana for God, the Church, and our local region.
There are several reasons that I am hopeful that this might be a model for the future.

The organization is lay-run, and locally based. Its goal is to establish a network of artists, patrons, and enthusiasts in south Louisiana.

Furthermore, Jordan described their committmen to the continuing formation of all three categories of members. They are taking a long-term view for this project, so that the style of art that is appropriate to the people that it serves today will emerge organically, bearing, they hope, both the universal characteristics of Catholic sacred art, and stylistic elements that speak to contemporary Catholics in southern Louisiana. They are thinking in terms of a 50-year time frame. Again, this seems absolutely right to me. They are also looking to establish the habit of tradition, by which artists teach by passing on what they know by establishing studio-based apprenticeships.
Also, there is an understanding that the universal elements derive from art forms that nourish authentic worship in the Sacred Liturgy. Jordan described to me how they are looking for experimentation, but this is primarily in the art that serves the community outside the church. They are extremely conservative in their view of what is appropriate for the liturgy. This is just as it should be, I feel.

I suggest you check it out.

Relief sculpture by St Louis IX Art Society Artist, Andrew Coleman

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