Sacred Arts Festival presents cross-displinary panel "Creating Sacred Space"

March 17, 2017 / By: David Jenkins

The Sacred Arts Festival at the University of St. Thomas will present a cross-disciplinary dialogue, “Creating Sacred Space,” on March 28, 7 p.m., at the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium (2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul). Acclaimed architect John Cuningham and three distinguished scholars (Drs. Victoria Young, Jeanne Kilde, and Marilyn Chiat) will examine the construction of sacred space through the lenses of architecture, ritual, and social history. 

“Creating Sacred Space” is co-presented by the Sacred Arts Festival and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas. The event is free and open to the public.

“The arts play a vigorous, multi-dimensional role in the human construction of what is sacred in our midst,” remarks David Jordan Harris, Interfaith Arts Special Consultant at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning. “Few subjects strike more resonantly at the core purpose of a Sacred Arts Festival than the theme of “Creating Sacred Space.”

Architect John Cuningham founded the Cuningham Group in 1968. He earned degrees in architecture from Harvard and the University of Minnesota, where he taught architectural design for eighteen years. His acclaimed design for the Episcopal House of Prayer in Collegeville received the 25-Year Award from the American Institute of Architects Minnesota in 2015, given to an exemplary architectural project that has withstood the test of time.

Dr. Victoria Young is professor of modern architectural history and chair of the Art History department at the University of St. Thomas. Her research focuses on 19th and 20th century architecture, with special interests in sacred space and contemporary war museums. She is the author of Saint John’s Abbey Church: Marcel Breuer and the Creation of a Modern Sacred Space.

Dr. Marilyn Chiat received a Ph.D in art history from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation on ancient synagogue architecture was published by Brown University under the title of Handbook of Synagogue Architecture. Her work focuses on the role that religious architectural structures play in their communities, providing insight into the history of their congregants and the larger cultural context in which they exist.

Dr. Jeanne Halgren Kilde is the Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. A cultural historian of religion in the United States, Dr. Kilde holds a Ph.D in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Her primary research focuses on religious space and architecture. Among her publications are When Church Becomes Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship and Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture