Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

Journal

Board members and participants capture behind-the-scenes activities of the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts in frequent posts.

Press Release: Center for Latter-day Saint Arts Receives $15,000 Grant from the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Foundation to Support Funding for Artists and Scholars

NEW YORK CITY, New York – July 21, 2019 – The Center for Latter-day Saint Arts has received a generous grant of $15,000 from The Beverely Taylor Sorenson Foundation (BTSF) to support funding for artists and scholars who participate in future festivals hosted by the Center. 

The third annual festival, entitled, “Voices,” took place at the Italian Academy on the campus of Columbia University in New York City in June. The purpose of the festival is to expose church members to new Latter-day Saint artists, and to expand the network of these artists from around the world. 

The 2019 keynote address was given by David F. Holland, author of, “Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restrain in Early America,” and faculty member at Harvard Divinity School where he is a renowned scholar of Early American religious history.

“Art moved by faith…has incomparably enriched our world,” said Holland in his remarks. “ In this wonderful world of religious expression, Latter-day Saint artists have a distinctive contribution to make. The time has come for us to support these gifted Saints. Our artists can be our most eloquent representatives of the things we stand for and the things we hope for.”

“Nothing can replace the value of having artists and scholars in the room together,” says co-executive director, Glen Nelson, “Forming a global community is an exciting byproduct of the festivals.”

The headline event of this year’s festival, Center Stage, was a live event that featured original compositions by a Nashville folk singer, Finnish pop artist, American Idol finalist, Broadway singers and others.

Some of the other 2019 festival events included:

  • The screening of “Heart of Africa,” a feature film set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, based on the experiences of two Latter-day Saint missionaries, produced by Tshoper Kabambi and Margaret Blair Young. 

  • A concert by renowned pianist and organist, David Fletcher and other guest artists, who performed his original religious compositions. 

  • An interactive dance workshop offering kinesthetic and visual tools for viewers to relate dance among other genres of art led by Kevin and Lita Giddins, Marin Leggat Roper, Pat and Kathie Debenham. 

  • A panel discussion regarding feminine imagery and narrative, social media’s effects on women artists in the Church, and Latter-day Saint women artists of color by Margaret Hemming, Rose Gouchnour Serago, and Michelle Franzoni Thorley.

Artists and presenters were able to hear from each other and establish connections to work together in the future.

“The Center has brought together the three main sources of energy for me—the LDS church, art and music, and community—under one roof where they can fuse together,” said David Fletcher, Latter-day Saint composer and performer at the 2019 festival. “I have waited all of my life for something like this.” 

Glen Nelson