Springville MOA hosts exhibition celebrating Utah’s religious diversity

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The front entrance to the Springville Museum of Art. The museum is currently hosting its yearly exhibition highlighting spiritual and religious art in Utah. (Nathan Beitler)

The Springville Museum of Art is currently hosting its 37th annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah exhibition.

The exhibition first began displaying its art on Oct. 18 and will be running until Jan. 10, 2024. This year’s exhibition features more than 200 pieces of art in different mediums from artists of different faiths all across Utah.

“We didn’t want to limit (the exhibition) to one religion,” Shannon Acor, the Springville Museum of Art’s associate director, said.

Acor explained how this exhibition is meant to invite people of all faiths to come explore and reflect on their own religiosity and spirituality.

Rose Datoc Dall’s “Light in the Wilderness” won
the Best of Show award at the Spiritual and
Religious Art of Utah exhibition. The piece is
currently on display at the Springville Museum
of Art. (Photo Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art website)

This year’s exhibition garnered a record-breaking number of entries. According to the museum’s website, there were 657 individual entries set to be judged by this year’s jury.

There were five different award categories in which entries were eligible to compete. The Best of Show award was given to the piece “Light in the Wilderness” by Utah painter Rose Datoc Dall, which depicts Jesus holding an oil lamp in a dark desert.

The jury for this year was comprised of two judges, Winston Kyan and J. Kirk Richards. Kyan is an associate professor of art history at the University of Utah, where he offers courses on Asian art. Richards is an artist and teacher whose work focuses on themes of religion, spirituality and love.

“What a revelation to see that there is an active community of artists in Utah who are committed to making art with religious and spiritual underpinnings in the contemporary age,” Kyan said.

Abe Kimball’s “A Hand in All Things” was purchased by the Springville
Museum of Art to become part of their permanent collection. The piece is currently on display as part of the museum’s Spiritual and Religious Art exhibition. (Photo courtesy of Kimball’s site)

The Spiritual and Religious Art Exhibition “is a place where artists and locals of different faiths can gather and enjoy the different and diverse expressions of faith and spirituality,” Dall said. “The show’s aspirational goals are palpable: to reflect, celebrate and even elevate the culture of the community as well as perhaps educate and broaden minds, expand tastes and expose its audience to more diverse representation.”

The Springville Museum of Art also decided it would purchase a number of pieces to add to its personal collection. Each of these five pieces was given the Museum Purchase Award and will still be viewable in the museum after the exhibition has closed.

Some of the pieces to win the Museum Purchase Award were Orem native Cynthia Lewis Clark’s “My Father’s House Has Many Mansions” and Abe Kimball’s “A Hand in All Things.”

The exhibition fills several rooms on the museum’s first floor and includes pieces of all different mediums including audio pieces, video pieces, metal and paint. The museum has placed pamphlets and cards around the exhibition encouraging visitors to understand, explore and consider religion and spirituality in their own lives.

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