News: November 30, 2004
Petra Tickets on Sale
Tickets go on sale tomorrow for one of the most amazing exhibitions ever to come to West Michigan.
Petra: Lost City of Stone is the most comprehensive exhibit ever presented on the ancient, Middle Eastern city of Petra and its creators - the Nabataeans.
It will be at Calvin College in its Prince Conference Center from April 4 to August 15, 2005.
Tickets will be available December 1 by calling 616-526-7800 or 800-PETRA05.
Petra opened in New York City in October 2003 for a nine-month showing and then traveled to Cincinnati for a September 2004 to January 2005 run.
Calvin President Gaylen Byker, who serves as co-chair for Petra: Lost City of Stone, has been a frequent visitor to the Middle East, including several trips to Petra. So when Calvin had the chance to host the exhibit (becoming one of only five North American venues), he jumped at the offer.
"The Petra exhibit," he says, "is a great fit with Calvin's educational mission and with Calvin's fast-expanding international involvement. The city of Petra is one of the very best archaeological sites in the world for experiencing what life was like in the Middle East at the time of Christ. What's exciting for me is how the exhibit allows people to experience Petra - its history, its art, its architecture, its engineering prowess and its importance in the Middle East, a region of the world that we all need to better understand. For us to have the opportunity to bring this to West Michigan is too good to pass up."
June Hamersma, Director of Calvin's January Series and the other Petra exhibit co-chair, says simply: "The exhibit represents a true gift to this community and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience one of the greatest archaeological complexes in world history."
Hamersma notes too that Petra: Lost City of Stone was almost a decade in the making, having first been conceived in 1994 by the Cincinnati Art Museum, which then joined forces with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City in a monumental effort to gather the 200 exceptional objects that comprise the traveling exhibit.
Items on display include stone sculptures and reliefs, ceramics, metalwork, architectural elements, terracotta or ancient water pipes, artworks in various media and other fascinating artifacts. All are on loan from collections in Jordan and throughout Europe and the United States. Many are on display in the United States for the first time.
All told the exhibit will be spread out across 7,000 square feet at Calvin's Prince Conference Center, which will undergo significant modifications to host Petra: Lost City of Stone.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are several pieces recently discovered by archaeologists working in Jordan, as well as a monumental bust of Dushara, on public display outside Jordan for the first time. The bust is almost four feet tall and weighs some 2,100 pounds!
Another highlight at the exhibit was actually unearthed by a graduate of the college: Grand Rapids based archaeologist, teacher and photographer Neal Bierling, who has worked on Petra and helped excavate a marble Byzantine church pulpit that will be on display at Calvin.
The exhibit is the first major cultural collaboration between Jordan and the United States. It is organized by Cincinnati Art Museum and American Museum of Natural History, New York under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Air transportation has been generously provided by Royal Jordanian.