Options for Art Exhibit Programs by Religious Institutions

by an anonymous volunteer


Exhibits with a modest budget

Most religious organizations do not have financial resources or staff available to organize expensive exhibits. Others having the potential for significant funding may wish to "test the waters" with low-budget presentations to gauge the level of public interest in a visual arts program.

For little direct expense -- and no need for permanent museum staff -- a religious organization can host an annual invitational art exhibit. This type of juried exhibit, featuring living artists specializing in religious art, has several benefits. It provides a further means for attracting visitors to the organization's campus, provides exposure to the public of religious art, and provides a valuable venue for local or regional artists.

There are numerous examples of this type of exhibit with a sales component:

In Utah, the Springville Museum of Art's Annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah Exhibition is a decades-long tradition featuring Utah-based artists. Multi-faith artworks are eligible for cash awards and are offered for sale. Workshops and discussions accompany the exhibitions.
At Mission San Juan Capistrano, in San Juan Capistrano, CA, a series of exhibits in the 1990s were a means of providing exposure to both living artists and estates of artists, friend-raising for the Mission, and a venue for the public to view art.

Venues may consider presenting several types of exhibits with modest budgets to find out what types of art resonate best with audiences. Low-risk experimentation tests the public's appetite prior to presenting more expensive and complex exhibits.


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