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Art and the Religious Imagination

Release date:
November 18, 2014

In this program presented on March 29, 2009, a panel of distinguished museum directors and theologians discussed the roles that secular and religious art museums can play in the presentation of art with spiritual and religious content. They also explored how spiritual and religious art has the potential to invite viewers into a deeper interior journey.

Terrence Dempsey, SJ, recounted the genesis of the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary art. Pamela Ambrose described how an existing private university museum's mission was extended and enriched, while Gerald Bolas reflected on the challenges facing a public university art museum in showing work that relates to religion and spirituality. Charles Bouchard, OP, examined MOCRA's Good Friday exhibition through the lens of Christian theological reflection.

Part 1

Part 2

Related exhibition:
MOCRA at Fifteen: Good Friday
Related episodes:
Episode 5: Pamela Ambrose and Ena Heller
Episode 20: Pamela Ambrose
David Brinker
Cengiz Yar
Tangent Mind, LLC


Art and the Religious Imagination panel

from left: Charles Bouchard, Pamela Ambrose, Gerald Bolas, and Terrence Dempsey. Photo by Jeffrey Vaughn.


Pamela Ambrose

"The Spiritual in Art and the Public Response"

Pamela Ambrose
Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), Chicago

Gerald Bolas

"Sacred Objects in the Secular Art Museum"

Gerald T. Bolas
Executive Director
Raleigh Arts Commission

former Director
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 

Charles Bouchard, OP

"Suffering and the Presence of God in Good Friday"

Charles Bouchard, OP
Provincial, Dominican Central Province

former Vice President for Theological Education
Ascension Health, St. Louis 

Moderated by

Terrence Dempsey, SJ

"The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art:
Reflecting on Fifteen Years of the Pursuit of the Spirit"

Terrence Dempsey, SJ
Founding Director
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA)
Saint Louis University, St. Louis


     Photos by Jeffrey Vaughn.

This podcast is made possible through the financial support of the Regional Arts Commission.  Regional Arts Commission logo

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