FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 18, 2008
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA - As Gordon College celebrates the birth of Christ with a variety of traditional events December 2-6, so too will it look anew at his mother.
The Advent Festival of the Arts, the newest addition to Christmas at Gordon, is a weeklong artistic response to The Magnificat theme. The Festival includes a panel discussion, exhibits of new artwork by art faculty Bruce Herman and Tanja Butler, and theatrical and musical performances, all of which explore the life and influence of Mary.
Making Culture: Tradition and Innovation, a panel discussion, will take place Wednesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. in the Barrington Center for the Arts (BCA). Panelists Herman, Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts; Walter Hansen, professor of global theological education at Fuller Theological Seminary and president of Rivendell Stewards' Trust; Tanja Butler, associate professor of visual arts; John Skillen, director of the Gordon in Orvieto program; and Dan Russ, director of Gordon's Center for Christian Studies, will discuss the intersection of traditional and new art and culture around The Magnificat theme. The discussion is free and open to the public.
"It goes without saying, this young woman is an extraordinary person . . . Every woman, just as every man, is potentially a servant of God like Mary," said Herman, whose work is housed in many public and private collections, including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome and the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. "My own need to paint these more personal images is analogous to the need to refresh the tradition of Marian paintings. We all need to see what it is we are meant to become."
Herman's new cycle of paintings, Miriam: Virgin Mother, will be unveiled Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. in the BCA Gallery. Also on view will be a collection of paintings and collages on the Marian theme by Butler. The evening will include music and a theatrical response to the mystery of Christ's advent, and is also free and open to the public.
"Christmas is such an important celebration that, over the years, has been taken away by the commercial culture," said Jeffrey S. Miller, professor of theatre arts. "The Advent Festival is an attempt to bring it back."
On Friday, December 5, at 8 p.m. at the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel, the Advent Festival of the Arts celebrates The Magnificat with a vocal concert focusing on the story of Christ's birth. The evening's centerpiece is Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, performed by choral ensemble Lyricora with special guest and mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel '01, along with the Gordon College Choir and Women's Choir. Also featured are well-known and lesser-known pieces, written over many centuries and focused on Mary, The Magnificat, and nativity. Images from Herman's cycle of paintings will be featured as well.
And, as always, in the spirit of giving, Gordon College will have a receiving box for gift card donations at each Christmas at Gordon event. The gift cards will be donated to Gordon's community partners, social services and charities in the city of Lynn.
For more information on all events during Christmas at Gordon, or for ticket information for The Magnificat and Christmas Gala concerts, please visit www.gordon.edu/christmasatgordon or call 978.867.3400.
For interview requests, please contact the Office of College Communications at 978.867.4235.
©Tanja Butler, 2005
oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on panel, 10" x 5"
©Bruce Herman 2008 (detail)
Oil and silver leaf on wood panel, 60" x 48"