Adorjan Humanities Art Gallery Opening

The reception for the opening of our new photography exhibit was a tremendous success! This exhibit, #archcityreligion: Photographs from Religion in the Midwest by Lauren Pond, opened  on May 1, 2019.

The Columbus, Ohio-based photographer Lauren Pond is the 2018-2019 Lived Religion in the Digital Age Artist-in-Residence. A graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Ohio, her work has explored the richness on the peripheries of American religion and, in so doing, breaks down the politics of difference so often wielded to deflect real, sustained attention to marginalized people, places, and practices. As part of her residency, Pond came to SLU in January 2019 to share her expertise and experience with several theology courses. She invited students into conversations around ethics and practices of photographing religion. As part of their coursework, many of these students then produced their own photographs of religion in St. Louis and around the world. This exhibit features selections from Lauren’s broader project, Religion in the Midwest, alongside photographs by five SLU undergraduates, carefully chosen by their classmates: Joanne Lim, Abraham Park, Vivian Phan, Allyson Prybl, and Shannon Sabol.

The exhibit, located in the first-floor lobby of Adorjan Hall, will be up for the foreseeable future. We invite you to visit and spend time with each of these pieces. What these photographs yield, in our estimation, is less an authoritative portrait of what religion in St. Louis is than a toe in the door to a place we are just getting to know.

The exhibit itself will have other afterlives as well. First, we have ambitiously designated this common space as the Adorjan Humanities Gallery. We are not the first to use these walls in such a way, but we hope we can reinstate a durable tradition of inviting colleagues and students in this building to display creative works that extend from or are integrated within humanities courses, research, and projects (look for more information on this in Fall 2019). And second, we are thrilled to announce the first #archcityreligion community Photoburst. Beginning Monday, May 6, 2019 and running through mid-July, we are inviting people of all ages and identities throughout the St. Louis region to submit their own original photographs of religious life and practice. The goals of the Photoburst are to open this project to the people who live here, to build informed categories of analysis and interpretation, and to create reciprocal relationships that contribute to the public understanding of religion in St. Louis, in Missouri, and in further reaches of the world today. Read more about the Photoburst and submit your photographs here: Photoburst Information and Entry.

We offer special thanks to the Henry Luce Foundation; the Saint Louis University Department of Theological Studies; the Saint Louis University College of Arts and Sciences; the American Religious Sounds Project; the administrators in Adorjan, particularly Chris Pudlowski, Teresa Harvey, and Kathy Michaels; the department chairs in Adorjan, particularly Dan Finucane and Peter Martens; and to David Brinker, John Early, and Mariah Justice for their assistance in putting together the exhibit and reception.