Jennifer Champoux presented the Book of Mormon Art Catalog database showcasing more than 2,000 pieces of art from 600 unique artists around the world to BYU on Oct. 5.
According to the catalog website, this database is “the most comprehensive catalog of visual artwork inspired by the Book of Mormon,” with artwork from various museums of art, galleries and private collections from across the globe. Within the catalog, visitors can browse artwork by topic, artist, style, place, scripture reference and date.
Jennifer Champoux is a scholar of Latter-day Saint visual art and the director of this project and working alongside her is a team of student research assistants.
Champoux’s presentation was titled “Introducing the Book of Mormon Art Catalog: A Digital Database for Scholars and Saints.” During this presentation, she talked about who the database is for, how to navigate it and the information people can find within.
Many BYU students attended this event, one of them being Isaac Neuenschwander. He said he is currently taking a Book of Mormon class and his professor mentioned this event. When asked why he thought this database would benefit members of the Church, Neuenshwander said, “I think it will maybe help lessons and teaching, you could go in and grab a piece of art.”
In the presentation, Champoux said she was writing a history of how Lehi’s dream has been depicted in art and she thought, “a collaborative repository for Book of Mormon art” would be helpful. She said she went on to create this database so seminary teachers, students, researchers, artists and others alike would be able to more easily find Book of Mormon art from various periods and geographic locations.
According to Champoux, viewers can see the artwork and learn interesting facts about the work and the artist. She said this part took her and the researchers a lot of time.
When asked what her favorite part of this project was, Champoux said, “Honestly my favorite part was working with other scholars and artists to help locate the art.” She added how generous many of these artists are for giving everyone “unprecedented access” to their artwork.
BYU student Grace Neuenschwander tagged along with her brother to this event. She talked about how she went to the BYU Museum of Art for one of her classes to observe artwork on display. She said there is often a deeper meaning to be found in gospel artwork.
“I like it because I feel like art can open you up to spiritual impressions that you wouldn’t receive otherwise or interpretations of the gospel that you just can’t get when you are reading or talking to somebody else,” Neuenschwander said.
This database is now open to the public through the Book of Mormon Art Catalog website. Champoux said this is an open-ended project and they plan to continue to add more artwork to the database in the future.