Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar explores the story of Lot's wife with 12 Indiana artists

INDIANAPOLIS -- Twelve Indiana artists have been selected to explore and expound upon the biblical story of Lot's wife during the eighth annual Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar, a project of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

The artists invited to participate in the 2018-19 seminar and the accompanying art exhibition are Stan Blevins, Peggy Breidenbach, Alys Caviness-Gober, Marjie Giffin, A. Paul Johnson, Kasey May, Michael McAuley, William Peacock, Katherine Simmons, Jennifer Strange, Teresa Vazquez and Kevin Wilson.

The artists will consider questions that delve far beyond the story of Lot's wife, who, as told in Genesis, turns to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and becomes a pillar of salt. Did she act in disobedience or out of compassion? What is our responsibility to bear witness? Is looking back redemptive or paralyzing? Might we see contemporary events such as mass tragedies and refugees through this text? Exploring the story through religion, art, poetry and music, this seminar will ask questions fundamental to the human experience.

Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the seminar explores the varieties of religious experience and understanding. Through events led by an interdisciplinary faculty, artists gain the knowledge and inspiration to develop new artistic works. They share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, schools, libraries and community groups.

A public exhibition March 7 at the Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road, will feature new works of painting, sculpture, music and poetry developed by the cohort. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display at the Jewish Community Center through April 30.

Also during the exhibition, the RSA seminar will feature a performance by critically acclaimed cellist Maya Beiser on April 3 at the Jewish Community Center. Beiser will perform excerpts from her cello opera, "Elsewhere," an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot's wife. This event is offered in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indiana Humanities and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.

Programming for the 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available online.

About the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute

Established in 2012, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute supports research and creative activity across the IUPUI campus, serves as a campus liaison to the Central Indiana community, and fosters ongoing partnerships and ventures that advance arts and humanities endeavors at IUPUI and in Indianapolis.

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