Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

Keynote & Symposium



Opening night keynote address  “The Forging of Mormon Identity” was delivered by Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, author of People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture (Oxford University Press, 2007); The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith (Deseret Book, co-author, Fiona Givens, 2014)


A day of scholarship was organized by Richard Bushman and Claudia Bushman with presentations from a variety of scholars exploring Kimball’s artistic call to arms—where we are now and its influence on a generation of Mormon Artists.


Paul L. Anderson, “Sacred Architecture and the Widow’s Mite: Aesthetics, Economics, and Cultural Sensitivity in LDS Temples
Former president of the Mormon History Association; curator at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Campbell Gray, “Is It Possible?”
Director, The University of Queensland Art Museum (Queensland, Australia) 2011-present; formerly Director, Brigham Young University Museum of Art (1996-2011)

Kristine Haglund, “Beyond ‘the Principle of Non-Distraction’: A Place for Art in Mormon Worship
Current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

Jared Hickman, “Mormonism; or, Art All the Way Down
Author of Race and Radicalism in the Age of Atlantic Slavery and co-author of Americanist Approaches to the Book of Mormon (both, Oxford University Press, 2016); associate professor of English, Johns Hopkins University

Michael Hicks, “The Second Coming of Mormon Music
Author of Mormonism and Music: A History (1989) and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography) (2015); founder of Group for New Music (BYU); editor of the journal American Music (2007-2010); professor of music (BYU)

Adam S. Miller, “Why Jesus Loves Novels
Author of Future Mormon, Essays in Mormon Theology (2016) and Letters to a Young Mormon (2013), professor of philosophy at Collin College (McKinney, TX), and director of Mormon Theology Seminar

Glen Nelson, “Joseph Paul Vorst and Political Art of the Great Depression
Founder and director, Mormon Artists Group (1999-present), author of Mormons at the Met (2012), librettist for the operas The Book of Gold, The Singer’s Romance, and The Dead (all with composer Murray Boren), curator and author of the forthcoming retrospective at the Church History Museum (Salt Lake City, UT), Joseph Paul Vorst (2017)

Steven L. Peck, “Reading from Gilda Trillim: Shepherdess of Rats
Author of The Scholar of Moab (2011) and A Short Stay in Hell (2012); professor of biology (BYU)

John Durham Peters, “Eternal Increase
Author of Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication and The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media, professor of English & Film and Media Studies at Yale University

Jana Riess, “Genre Triumphs: The Outsized Mormon Presence in Young Adult and Middle-grade Fiction
Author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor (2011); co-author, Mormonism for Dummies (2005), co-author of Mormonism and American Politics (2015); former religion book editor for Publishers Weekly

Eric Samuelsen, “Three Mormon Playwrights: Neil LaBute, Tim Slover, Melissa Leilani Larson
Retired professor of theatre (BYU); author of two dozen plays, including Gadianton (1996), The Seating of Senator Smoot (1996), The Way We’re Wired (1999), Family (2005), andAmerigo (2010); critic/correspondent and blogger/founder of Mormon Iconoclast

The collected essays The Kimball Challenge at Fifty Mormon Arts Center Essays has been published as is available on The 156-page book was one of two finalists for an Association of Mormon Letters Award.