Behind the glass double doors of the Center Art Gallery at Calvin College, lights hang over an exhibition not of paintings nor photographs, but of works of art made from materials such as stones, branches, feathers, stretched gut and porcupine quills. Collectively they, and the poetry and other writings that accompany them, form "Sanctuary: Hallowed Space, Holy Place,” on display now through February 6, 2010.

Calvin professor Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk with her "sacred space" exhibition, on display now at the Center Art Gallery at Calvin.

The exhibition is a result of work done during a recent sabbatical by Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk, a Calvin professor and co-chair of the art and art history department. It explores the nature of what Van Reeuwyk described as “sacred space.”

In her artist’s statement, she wrote: “I continue to discover the miraculous as I respond to God's world and create works of art that I hope and believe allow viewers to see a small piece of God's holiness and Sanctuary.”

A place of solace

When viewers enter the gallery, Van Reeuwyk hopes they are also walking into a place of solace. Thus the pieces in the exhibition explore different nuances of the word sanctuary. “Canopy,” a tent-like piece made from lace doilies, shows sanctuary as peaceful. But others, including some made with burrs and porcupine quills—typically associated with harm—show that protection can be a form of sanctuary.

The poetry and other writings that decorate the walls come courtesy of Cherith Nordling, a former Calvin colleague who worked with Van Reeuwyk during her sabbatical. “We learn through collaboration,” Van Reeuwyk said, “We learn from being with other people.”

The majority of Van Reeuwyk’s work was created in her studio in downtown Grand Rapids. The exhibition, she hopes, will be an encouragement to her students and an example of how to be both an artist and a teacher. “If you want to become a teacher,” she said, “it does not mean you exclude yourself from being an artist.”

Calvin Symposium on Worship

The inspiration for the exhibition was sparked two years ago in collaboration with leadership from the Calvin Symposium on Worship. Van Reeuwyk was invited to create a body of work investigating “sacred space,” a concept she said which had long intrigued her.

At the 2010 Symposium on Worship, to be held January 28-30, 2010, a booklet featuring writings and photos of the exhibition work will be available, and the Center Art Gallery will host a reception for Van Reeuwyk (from 6-7:15 p.m. on Friday, January 29). Also, Van Reeuwyk will be giving an artist’s talk on her exhibition at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 21 in the Center Art Gallery.

Symposium on Worship

Check out lots of information, including workshop descriptions, schedule overviews, presenter bios, online registration and more, for the upcoming Symposium on Worship to be held January 28-30, 2010, at Calvin College.

At the 2010 Symposium, a book featuring Van Reeuwyk's exhibition will be available. Also, during the Symposium the Center Art Gallery will host a reception for Van Reeuwyk (from 6-7:15 p.m. on Friday, January 29). And Van Reeuwyk will give an artist’s talk on her exhibition at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 21 in the Center Art Gallery.

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