An organization dedicated to the restoration of the Sacred in the visual arts has been established at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, a parish known for its renaissance in Catholic faith and culture. “We want to support artists in offering their gifts for the greater glory of God in an effort to harness the power of Beauty and its necessity in the work of evangelization,” says founder and president Kathleen Carr.
The Catholic Art Guild will achieve its mission by presenting speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities for artists and students in the visual arts. The guild hosts monthly events to explore the philosophy of aesthetics and the power of the visual arts for evangelization, as well as offering skill-based training in crafts such as gilding, illumination, stained glass, and traditional drawing techniques, in addition to a juried exhibition.
The first annual conference, “Beauty and the Restoration of the Sacred,” will be held be this October in Chicago. This full-day presentation will feature English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, well-known for his BBC documentary “Why Beauty Matters,” as well as architect Duncan Stroik, artist Anthony Visco, and art historian and educator Dr. Denis McNamara.
Father C. Frank Phillips, C.R., pastor of St. John Cantius, saw the need to foster the visual arts. “The Catholic Church has always seen art as an integral part of its liturgical worship and recognized the power of Beauty to evangelize, said Father Phillips. “The visual arts flow from the wellspring of the Sacred Liturgy, and both the Church and her artists flourish when this is understood and embraced.” As a student of Msgr. Martin Hellreigel, an early leader in liturgical renewal, Father Phillips first experienced the power of the liturgy to evangelize through the sacred arts. “We have had many organizations that enliven our vibrant parish, particularly in sacred music, liturgy, catechesis, youth and young adult ministry. It was time to establish a program for the visual arts and the training of artists,” says Fr. Phillips.
Kathleen Carr, an award-winning, classically trained painter, illustrator, and designer approached Fr. Phillips with her inspiration: “We want to bring together artists and the Church as partners to proclaim the Gospel to all who enter our doors or will hear our message. I was inspired by the Catholic vision that all art flows from the altar. It seemed natural to form an artist guild with the support of a religious community that lives and breathes the liturgy,” says Carr.
Interested visual artists, designers, architects, art educators, and art lovers looking to join a community centered around the ‘restoration of the Sacred’ are welcome to join the Catholic Art Guild and a Juried Art Exhibit will be part of the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, taking place July 18-21 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Chicago.