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January 2, 2001

Calvin Hosts Venerable Scripts

Words as images are the inspiration for an upcoming religious art exhibit at Calvin College. Calvin professor of art and architectural history Charles Young says "Venerable Scripts" will include historic as well as contemporary calligraphic imaging in paintings, pages, books, pottery, illustrations and more.

Young and his wife Debbie put the exhibit together, traveling to Chicago, Detroit and points in between to gather the works that will appear in the upcoming show. They visited with artists and museum curators, selecting self-consciously Jewish, Christian and Islamic works as well as a few works from outside those traditions.

Says Young: "Debbie and I went down to the Newberry Library in Chicago to see a major annual exhibition of calligraphic works in which Timothy Botts received the purchase prize. The Newberry agreed to loan that work to us and we feature it on the invitation. We selected four other calligraphers from that show who subsequently agreed to participate in Venerable Scripts."

In Detroit the Youngs met Mohamed Zakariya, an internationally recognized Islamic calligrapher, who was doing a calligraphic demonstration in association with "The Empire of the Sultans" showing at the Detroit Institute of Art. Zakariya agreed to loan four works of traditional Islamic types and styles. From Chicago The Spertus Museum, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, loaned two ketubahs (illustrated marriage contracts) and a Ben Shahn. Next it was to the Holland Museum which provided Dutch folk works and a presentation Bible. Then the Muskegon Museum of Art agreed to additional Islamic examples.

Says Young: "The end result is a show unlike anything else we have ever had at Calvin." The calligraphy will include a newly published Bible (Tyndale House) in script designed by Timothy Botts, who will speak at the January 12-14 Calvin Worship Symposium and will demonstrate calligraphy in the gallery.

A gallery reception will be held on Friday, January 12 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The barrier-free Center Art Gallery, located on the lower level of the Spoelhof College Center, is open 9 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. There is no admission charge. The exibit runs January 8—February 10.

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Contact Phil de Haan.