Session deTails

Plenary Presentations (Main stage)


ArtPlace America Panel
In Situ: Society

Friday June 14, 9:00 - 10:15 AM

ArtPlace America is a ten-year collaboration of various foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions who came together in 2011 to create a $104 million fund to serve their mission of positioning the arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development. AP Executive Director Jamie Bennett will interview several practitioners and grantees—including pastors, artists, and gallery directors—about their work of “creative placemaking”: artists and arts organizations joining their neighbors in shaping their community’s future by working collaboratively on place-based community arts projects.



Cara Megan Lewis and Linnéa Spransy: Bridge Projects and The WaterTable

In Situ: Studio + Society

Friday June 14, 10:30 - 11:30 AM

Cara Megan Lewis and Linnéa Spransy co-direct a multi-pronged arts entity in Los Angeles that will include an exhibition space (Bridge Projects) and an artist residency program (The WaterTable). These two organizations intend to hospitably conduct conversations which combine the concerns of contemporary art, religion and the long history of both. In this plenary session, Cara and Linnéa will share stories of encouragement and setback as they prepare for their launch in October of this year.  



Doing Good Well: Artist Panel

In Situ: Studio

Friday June 14, 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Betsy Carpenter, curator with Minnesota Museum of American Art, will moderate a panel of four artists working in different media: Joyce Lee, Caroline Kent, Lyz Wendland, Amanda Hamilton, and Catherine Prescott. Each will share about her individual discoveries in the studio, and together they’ll discuss how their work explores questions we’re posing with ARE WE THERE YET: the already but not yet, women’s role in the contemporary art scene and how it might be changing, the presence of spirituality in the studio, identity, personal history, and social responsibility, among other themes.



Hawona Sullivan Janzen interviews Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby

In Situ: Studio + Society

Saturday June 15, 9:00 - 10:15 AM

Hawona Sullivan Janzen, curator at the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research Outreach Center, will interview artists Sedricky and Letitia Huckaby, with a special focus on family history, African-American narratives in history and the role their personal expression plays in mediating that history for audiences. In light of what has been, together they will ask ARE WE THERE YET of “what ought to be” and “what is to come.”



What Has Been and What Ought to Be: Art as Transfiguration

In Situ: Sanctuary

Saturday June 15, 10:00 - 11:00 AM

Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.” -Flannery O'Connor

Pastor Vito Aiuto, pastor of Resurrection Brooklyn and half of the band The Welcome Wagon will offer a theological reflection on ARE WE THERE YET. Too often, Christian artists hear spiritual tropes that are long on theory but short on practice. Here Vito will expound three modes of vision that engender artistic excellence for the person of faith, a fresh and practical perspective on seeing the unseen. Through his talk he will recount his personal experience of the more recent convergence of religion and art and how it has affected his own art-making and pastoral work with artists of faith.



Nate Young with Chris Larson and Rico Gatson discussing The Raft

In Situ: Studio + Society

Saturday June 15, 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Artist and Curator Nate Young will interview Guggenheim fellow and Twin Cities native Chris Larson and New York-based Rico Gatson about their collaboration, The Raft, a multi-channel video and sound installation that Sheila Dickison, in her Brooklyn Rail review, called “a musical tale about an America that has not arrived at this enlightened state but still journeys down this river….Their artistic collaboration is symbolic of what ‘collaboration’ means — of people working together, of sitting together in their commonalities and insisting on change, keeping the American journey toward equality marching.”



Liz Vice in Concert

Saturday June 15, 8:30 - 9:30 PM

Liz Vice is a musician best known for her Gospel, soul, and R&B-infused album entitled There’s A Light. Raised in Portland, Oregon, and a recent resident of Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Vice has performed and/ or shared the stage with artists such as Cody Chesnutt, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, The Temptations, Lecrae, Eric Early (of Blitzen Trapper), Josh Garrels, The Wood Brothers, Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), Luz Mendoza (Y La Bamba), Eshon Burgundy (Humble Beast), and more. No matter how large the venue, her genuine approach to her artistry and playful interaction with the audience makes everyone feel like they're sitting at home on the couch watching a friend sing their heart out. Having overcome many personal obstacles, she credits her adventurous life to not forcing anything. “It’s all about risk, and taking risk is never regretful…well, most of the time.”


Breakout Session Details (Classrooms forthcoming)


Paper Sessions

These sessions feature the scholarship of 27 selected presenters on a variety of subjects related to the conference theme, ARE WE THERE YET. Sessions are organized around the theme of “In situ: Studio, Sanctuary, and Society,” and includes an “open” category. Session leaders: Cindi Beth Johnson, Jennifer Awes-Freeman, and Christina Carnes Ananias.



Ten Years of Nagel Institute Seminars and Exhibitions

Join Taylor University professor Rachel Smith as she hosts a panel discussion on the three international art seminars and exhibitions sponsored by the Nagel Institute since 2008: The Charis Seminar (Indonesia, 2008), R5: South Africa (2013), and Matter and Spirit (China, 2018). The session will explore the international state of the arts, the vision of Christian cultural engagement in these countries, and the impact of these seminars on the artists involved. Session participants include Seminar director, Rachel Smith, and a selection of previous seminar participants.



Art as an Open Door to the Great Commission

Join representatives of three international missions organizations as they discuss their experience in art-related mission projects. The session will include a moderated discussion and audience Q & A. Session participants include Rachel Smith, Anthony Vasquez, Matt Carson, Betsy Melchers, and Geneine Carson.



Creative Practices for Visual Artists

Join Bethel University faculty member Ken Steinbach as he discusses insights from his recently published book Creative Practices for Visual Artists (Routledge). Developed from interviews with over 75 mid-career artists, Steinbach examines the methods and approaches highly successful artists use to stay creatively robust. Session Leader: Ken Steinbach.



Renovation Lessons: Art and Faith through Deconstruction and Reconstruction

Join New York-based artist and former CIVA Board Chair Wayne Adams as he creates a safe space for conversation about what it means to question, deconstruct, and rebuild one’s artist practice and faith (sometimes simultaneously). Question considered will include: What is a “faith deconstruction”? How to maintain and question one’s faith at the same time? How can I make art while disillusioned with the art world or art market? Sources will be drawn from contemporary and historical theology, contemporary and modern art, and the presenter’s repeated attempts and failures. Session Leader: Wayne Adams.



Was God Dead? Biblical Imagination in German Expressionist Prints

Join artist and collector Sandra Bowden as she discusses the Bowden Collections’ new traveling exhibition, Was God Dead? Biblical Imagination in German Expressionist Prints. Including over 50 works of art, the exhibition examines the question of why biblical imagery saturates Expressionist literature and the visual arts and the importance of printmaking for the German Expressionists. Session Leaders: Sandra Bowden and Ed Knippers.



Creative Placemaking in the Arts

Join cultural entrepreneur Joanna Taft and author Jennifer Craft in conversation as they discuss the importance of placemaking in the visual arts: the importance of art in calling us to pay attention to one another and to the world around us and to cultivate our theological imagination. This session will explore these ideas through Taft’s work at Indiana’s Harrison Center for the Arts and Craft’s recent book, Placemaking and the Arts: Cultivating the Christian Life (IVP). Session Leaders: Joanna Taft and Jennifer Craft.



Passion Projects: Bi-vocational Gallery Administration

Join Ryan Lauterio and Garrith Blackwell, professors in the art and design departments at Virginia Commonwealth University and directors of the Shockoe Artspace, and Joseph Pensak, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian, Burlington VT and director and head curator of New City Galerie as they discuss their experience juggling multiple vocations while running successful non-profit-art space’s for the sake of their city. Not “church galleries, ” their spaces are supported by the church, but they are truly open to the public in service to all artists for the sake of the common good. Hear how they walk the line of these overlapping interests, balance professional demands while running their spaces/residencies, and attend to the inherent complexities of doing this work.



Creating Space for Art within the Church

Join Dr. Rodney Allen Schwartz, Director of the Westminster Gallery at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, as he discusses how to integrate visual art into the life of the church. From formal gallery spaces to integration within worship, this session will provide both theoretical and practical information on how to better utilize the arts within your congregation.



The Benefit of Artist Residencies

Join artist and CIVA Board member Allison Luce as she discusses the benefits of artist residencies to your career. Luce will share her experience in  several residencies and discuss a variety of related topics from how to apply and what to expect, to how to leverage them to expand your network and generate exhibitions. Includes audience Q & A. Session Leader: Allison Luce.



Boundaries for Your Soul

Do your emotions control you or do you control your emotions? Many people let guilt, anger, or self-criticism dominate their lives and negatively affect their relationships. In this session, Kim Miller, MTh, LMFT will show you how to calm the chaos within through a groundbreaking approach that will help you:

  • know what to do when you feel overwhelmed,

  • understand  your guilt, anxiety, sadness, and fear,

  • welcome God into the troubling parts of your soul, and

  • move from doubt and conflict to confidence and peace.

Turn your shame to joy, your anger to advocacy, and your inner critic into your biggest champion through Kim’s powerful five-step method that will set you on course to become the loving, authentic, joyful person you were created to be.



Excellence in Art Pedagogy: Developing an Advanced K-12 Visual Art Program

In this panel, experienced artists and art educators Jon Millet and Jay Henderson from Trinity Christian Academy (Addison, Texas) will discuss how to develop a robust and media-diverse visual arts program. TCA is a large (1400+ students) college-prep PreK-12 private Christian school with an award winning Visual Arts department that successfully competes with private and public schools in a large metropolitan area. The discussion will begin with the philosophical exploration of the rationale and strategies for cultivating a school culture that values the humanities and a robust art education.



Film Screening: Santuario

Santuario is a documentary short that intimately follows Juana Luz Tobar Ortega as she takes sanctuary at a North Carolina church to evade a deportation sentence. The film is the story of migration, but these main themes of family and home are universal. The artistic direction is led by the power of Juana's prayers and her faith, and centers on her and her family's experience. There is no easy resolution or clear end in sight. This short documentary features an ongoing and important story of community, family, and everyday resistance in a fraught immigration climate. The screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion.



Things which are not seen: The permissions of Conceptual Art for your right and—more importantly—your left hand.

Where does the more than 100-year history of conceptualism (aka Conceptual Art) intersect with contemporary art education, artmaking, and art-enacting? As artists-in-relation to Jesus, grappling with this question can offer us a robust and somewhat underexplored opportunity to generate a truly experimental, interdisciplinary, and civically affective creative practice. Artist and educator Jorge Lucero shares examples of conceptualist modes-of-operation that further tease out this query through dematerialized and ephemeral making; durational, relational, and pedagogical encounters; and via creative gestures that are purposefully kept invisible to all but God’s eyes. These invisible gestures exist in the realm of the ignored, secret, unspectacular, unwieldy, the non-art/every day, and the poorly-documented.  Important passages to be considered in thinking through the possibilities are II Corinthians 4:16-18 and Matthew 6:3.