Scottsdale, Arizona has become something of a mecca for artists and art enthusiasts over the years. The town attracts not only buyers but artists as well, hoping for representation in one of the nearly 100 art galleries most of which are clustered downtown.
Joyce Coronel over at The Catholic Sun, recently wrote about a new addition to the gallery scene, The Sacred Art Gallery held its grand opening on February 3, and by all accounts was a great success. The work on display at The Sacred Art Gallery appears to be an interesting mix of sculpture, painting, original work, work that reinterprets traditional iconography, and giclee prints of Old Masters as well as limited edition bronze castings of Michelangelo’s work. They also offer classes and workshops.
It is of course too early to tell how successful this venture will be but it does raise an interesting point for discussion, does religious art sell as religious art? There is actually quite a lot of religious work already in Scottsdale but it is marketed as “folk art” or “southwestern art.”
So for religious artists and art buyers what is your opinion? Is it a matter of excellent work simply finding the proper audience? I have heard from both camps, some say that there simply is no market for overtly religious work, others say that if the work is good enough it will sell.
It is something of a “catch 22” for artists. In order to develop their talents and produce excellent work, they have to devote every moment of time and energy to perfecting their craft. But they can only do that if they have income, either from their art or from some external support such as a working spouse.
While many religious artists are simply, and properly, committed to using their gifts to glorify God, regardless of its commercial viability, the truth is that if we are to evangelize the world with art it must be beautiful art that attracts people. It must be art that attracts people to have it in their homes and contemplate the transcendent truth behind the art. Christian art must be so beautiful it stops people in their tracks, causing them to gaze in wonder and motivating them to want to know more about the work and the person who created it.
Pontifex University is committed to forming artists to do just that.
Pontifex University is an online university offering a Master’s Degree in Sacred Arts. For more information visit the website at www.pontifex.university