SARTS Annual Meeting & Events 2014

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We hope you will join SARTS in San Diego this November (2014) for any or all of these events.

PRE-MEETING WORKSHOP: Teaching Visual Arts in Religious Studies and Theology Classrooms

Friday, November 21st
1:00-5:00 p.m.
San Diego Ballroom Salon C

Join SARTS at a Wabash Center co-sponsored workshop on "Teaching Visual Arts in Religious Studies and Theology Classrooms." The session will be led by David Morgan (Duke University) and Vivian-Lee Nyitray (Prospect College, China), and is presided over by Wilson Yates (United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities) and Paul Myhre (Wabash Center).

This workshop will provide faculty with various strategies and methods for teaching the visual arts in religious studies and theology classrooms. Participants will explore a range of ways by which specific pedagogical methods can help students engage the visual arts as loci for the study of religious studies, theology, ethics, bible, etc. Specific attention will be given to the following pedagogical methods: a dialogical method that sees artist, art, and the viewer (theologian, ethicists, whoever) in conversation with the viewer drawing on material from other disciplines; a method that considers the role of material evidence, which means beginning with methodological questions in order to engage students (and colleagues no less) in the definition of evidence in historical and cultural analysis; and a method that attends to the ethics of observation as part of the hermeneutics of visual cultures, including the viewer's gaze.

Workshop participants will explore both meta-level questions about engaging the visual arts and explore specific strategies for teaching visual arts in contemporary higher educational contexts through a range of questions. The pre-meeting workshop will include mini-lectures, plenary conversations, and small group work. In addition, participants will be exposed to materials for study and teaching including: methods of visual analysis, ethics of inquiry, exhibition practices, subject areas (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc.), theories of visual culture, and so on.

Pre-registration Required: Limited to 50 faculty participants. Contact: Trish Overpeck, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Click here for more information.



SARTS members and non-members are invited to join with those interested in the intersections between the arts and religious studies and theology at our annual reception during the AAR and SBL annual meetings:

SARTS Reception
Friday, November 21, 2014
7:00-8:30 pm
Omni-Gaslamp 1



Board members should plan to be present on Saturday, November 22, in the Marriott Marquis-Leucadia room, from 8:00-10:00 a.m., and resuming from noon-2:00 p.m.



Theology's Engagement with the Visual Arts After 70 Years:
Where Do We Go From Here?—Reflections on a Dialogical Approach

Wilson Yates, Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus of Religion, Society and the Arts
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Saturday, November 22, 2014
10:-00-11:30 a.m.
Marriott Marquis-Leucadia

This session will offer a brief comment on theologians’ interest in 20th and 21st century visual art that began roughly 70 years ago.  Certain of the successes important to developing that conversation and certain of the failures that still haunt us will be acknowledged.  In response to where we have been and where we are, I will sketch the importance of a dialogical approach in which the viewer, the artwork, and the artists are each necessarily present in a conversation that takes seriously the formal aspects of art, the importance of style, the artists sense of the work and intentions for it, the viewers’ theological interests and skills at interpretation and the context of all three parties at the table.

There will be three respondents:

Deborah Sokolove
Director of the Henry R. Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion
Wesley Theological Seminary and
author of Sanctifying Art: Inviting Conversation Between Artists, Theologians, and the Church

Alan Smith
Florida Southern College and
author of Theology of the Arts: Engaging Faith

John Shorb
Brooklyn, New York


Theology, Icons, and Organ Music in Balboa Park

Sunday, November 23rd
Timken Museum, then Spreckels Organ Pavilion

SARTS will host a theological conversation in the intimate Timken Museum ( with its collection of Russian icons and Old Masters.

Tour Co-leaders:
Jaime Lara, Arizona State University
Robin Jensen, Vanderbilt University

Participants will be invited to follow-up the tour by attending the 2:00 p.m. open-air organ recital in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, one of the very few outdoor pipe organs in the world. Both events are free. Balboa Park is accessible from downtown by trolley and bus, see

Pre-registration Required: Limited to 35 faculty participants. Register online by clicking here.

Those interested in this event are encouraged to travel by either taxi or public transportation to the Timken Museum and Balboa Park.


Theme: Interreligious Aesthestics
Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Georgetown University, Presiding
Sunday - 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Convention Center-33B

Given that images, ritual and music are often integral to the experience of religious devotion and worship, it is important to understand the ways in which aesthetic practices are experienced as religious. This session will explore the role of artistic expression in various modes of worship through a comparative look at several religious traditions as well as a consideration of aesthetics as a medium for interreligious engagement.

Peter Doebler, Graduate Theological Union
Seeing the Things You Cannot See: (Dis)-solving the Sublime in Interreligious Aesthetics through the Paintings of Hiroshi Senju

Michelle Voss Roberts, Wake Forest University
Rasa: A Framework for the Aesthetics of Interreligious Engagement

Peter Schadler, Oxford University
Ritual Preparation for Artistic Production: The Spiritual Aesthetics of Spiritual Ascetics in the Abrahamic Faiths

William A. Dyrness, Fuller Theological Seminary

Co-sponsored by:
Arts, Literature, and Religion Section,
Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group,
Music and Religion Group
Religion, Film, and Visual Culture Group and
Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies

To learn more, visit the AAR website: