Sacred Art Live! event inspires all

February 14, 2023

Sisters from the Dominican Sister of Mary Immaculate Province showed their icons “written” as prayers at the second annual Sacred Art Live! event on Jan. 28 at the Borski Center at St. Mary’s Seminary. (Photo by Megan Dohert/For the Herald)

HOUSTON — Almost 400 people attended the second annual Sacred Art Live! event on Jan. 28 at the Borski Center located at St. Mary’s Seminary.

Thirteen contemporary artists brought their unique canvases from cities as far away as Philadelphia and as near as Houston’s Third Ward. Working in mediums such as oil, acrylic, charcoal, ceramic and print-making, the artists also brought inspiration and hope to the diverse crowd of attendees.

Images of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Family, the Blessed Virgin Mary, various saints and the Eucharist drew positive comments and, in some cases, tears as people strolled the exhibition space viewing the paintings and prints.

“The Sacred Art Live! exhibition is a special event because people are seeking an encounter with God,” says Larry W. Massey Jr., president of the Scanlan Foundation. “Other art shows and contests don’t allow this type of art to enter, so people haven’t seen this kind of art.”

Houston-based iconographer Al Sauls was one of the featured artists. Recently interviewed in the Houston Chronicle and featured in the Black Catholic Messenger magazine, Sauls is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He is renowned for his icons and paintings of saints, which incorporate aspects of early Byzantium images, Roman Catholic imagery, and traditional portraiture.

Robert Puschautz, who paints sacred art for the diocese of Tyler, Texas, brought paintings that are largely representational. Kate Capato, based in Philadelphia, showed her oil paintings which seek to bring viewers closer to God through the use of beauty in the tradition of the Renaissance masters. Capato’s work is influenced by St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

Capato says, “A deeper relationship with Christ through the beauty of sacred art can also bring awareness to viewers of who they are as men and women through beauty.

William K. Stidham traveled from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, to participate in the show. His sacred images, done in watercolor, were shown as originals and prints, with smaller reproductions available on ceramic tiles and glass candle holders. “The whole time I paint, I am praying the Rosary,” says Stidham whose Catholic faith has been a constant throughout his life.

Several other local artists participated: Emily Fonseca, Paul Latino and Alicia Lloyd. Sisters from the Dominican Sister of Mary Immaculate Province also showed their icons “written” as prayers in a recent class with Philadelphia-based artist Father Dominic Bump, O.P., who exhibited his own paintings. Father Bump teaches the truths of the faith through Catholic sacred art in the tradition of the Early Renaissance artist Fra Angelico. He builds on the tradition of Fra Angelico through the teachings of Sts. Thomas Aquinas and Louie de Montfort, who gave their lives preaching the Gospel.

A selection of music and song curated by Gonzalo A. Ramos, artistic director of the Bravura Concert Series at All Saints Catholic Church in the Heights, accompanied the reception and exhibition.

“The Scanlan daughters were early supporters of the arts in Houston and would be very proud of this event,” Massey said. “This type of event is a portal for the Church’s Mystical Body to reach people’s hearts.”

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