On July 1, 2017, I wrote an article about sacred art on display in an Arizona Sonoran Desert city, titled, Sacred Art is inspiring and flourishing…in Scottsdale, Arizona. You will be happy to know that The Sacred Art Gallery continues to grow and attract more artists and visitors all the time. One of the gallery consultants, Grace Rivera, even shared with me two nights ago that my article on the gallery gave them a bump from views on their website to individuals walking in their front door.
On Wednesday night (same night we saw Grace), my fiancée and I were invited to an open house at the New Jerusalem Studios. We were excited to attend, most especially me, because I first remember when Ruth and Geoff Stricklin were searching for space where Ruth could create her own sacred art. Although I have seen her work at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center located on the campus of Arizona State University and at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, I was excited, as was my fiancée, to see where such beautiful art begins to take shape.
As you will see from the pictures that are interspersed through this post, the sacred art is large, meant to cover walls and ceilings – and is absolutely stunning! Like sacred music, sacred art has the tendency to raise our eyes, mind, and soul towards Heaven itself. These images that Ruth has created does that for me and I imagine anyone that comes into contact with them.
New Jerusalem Studios focuses on large liturgical art which is theological in nature. The studio not only can create the image itself, but has the knowledge and capability of designing the image before it is produced on the canvas. Along with the sacred art images, New Jerusalem can assist you in the creation of beautiful sacramental art, such as pews, flooring, sanctuary furniture, architectural pieces, and even lighting. A reasonable restoration can be created at an affordable cost.
Liturgical art created correctly, that is produced within the mind and heart of the Church, can change one’s life instantaneously. I remember walking through the Vatican Museum in 2000 – at times I couldn’t speak because of the sheer beauty that was before my young eyes. Even today as I write this post, it’s difficult to express on “paper” what I witnessed those many years ago in Rome.
The reason I bring this up is because for so long we have been held captive by modern art (as well as modern music) which lacks a true sense of beauty. In my opinion, modern art has no real form to it, it lacks distinctiveness and any real aesthetic appeal, and for the last 50 years or so, that’s how Catholic structures have been designed and built.
The good news is that a lot of this modern art is starting to cease within the Catholic Church. Churches are either being built or being redesigned again with a theological sense. I can’t tell you how many parishes that I have read about in recent years who are transforming their modern Catholic churches into works of beauty, and at the heart of these renovations is the sacred art that New Jerusalem Studios can design and produce.
I would encourage you to check out their website, browse around a bit, especially look at the projects page – you will be blown away to see what Ruth is creating in this quaint studio in Phoenix, Arizona.
To conclude, I leave you with the words of Pope St. John Paul. In his Letter to Artists, he quotes Fyodor Dostoevsky’s, The Idiot. Under the title heading, “The Saving Power of Beauty”, the Polish Pope says,
People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that “beauty will save the world.”