The Religion and the Arts
Program began with a grant from the Luce Foundation
and is funded
in part by the Ruth and Bruce Dayton Endowment Fund for Religion
and the Arts.
The seminary offers a variety of academic courses where the arts (music, visual arts, literature, drama, movement) are the primary subject matter. Courses are taught by faculty with expertise in the arts, theology, and the Church. The arts are also integrated into traditional courses such as theology, the Bible, preaching, and Christian education. These courses are open to students in degree programs, non-degree students, and church professionals.
The seminary offers a Theology and the Arts concentration in the M.A. and M.Div. programs. D.Min. students also have the opportunity to develop a concentration in the area of the arts.
“As I’ve lived into pastoral ministry, the emphasis on arts at United Seminary has served me well by helping me discover that ministry is an art, not a science. Finding words that serve a diverse community is an art. Helping a community imagine all that God calls our lives and our world to be is an art. Encouraging a community to embrace the way of the Christ is an art. United taught me what the Spirit moving in the church will never let you forget: pastoral ministry is an imaginative and creative understanding.”
- Todd Smith Lippert ’03, M.Div., Senior Minister, First UCC, Northfield, Minn.
“What could be more fitting a partner for constructive theology than the arts in the enterprise of discipleship and imaginative reconstruction of new ways of thinking and dwelling. To be sure philosophy, social, and natural sciences are vital disciplines for constructive theology to relate with and integrate. But the arts offer something essential and distinctive, so much so that constructive theology would be an orphan without it. Moreover, constructive theology would really not be true to its calling if it were not in itself a form of art or an artistic enterprise.”
- Eleazar S. Fernandez, professor of constructive theology, “Constructive
Theology, Art, and Prophetic Imagination,” Spring Convocation address, 2005
This program brings artists to United to live, teach, and work within the community for varying periods of time. The presence of artists makes for a creative and dynamic learning environment. The ability to observe the imaginative process assists students in creative thinking and encourages thoughtful reflection.
ARTS magazine, published by the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS) and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, explores the relationship between theology and the visual, musical, theatrical, and liturgical arts. ARTS is recognized as the single publication devoted to the arts in theological education while also serving clergy, artists, and scholars of religion.
Resources for the Community
The Religion and the Arts Program provides resources for the broader community – local and national – including churches, faith communities, artists, and religious leaders interested in the arts as a means of congregational renewal, a tool for ministry, or a path for spiritual growth. The program also assists others in networking and finding resources.
Collaborations with Arts Institutions
The seminary is located
in a metropolitan area known for its dynamic and thriving arts
community with notable recent additions including a new Guthrie
Theater, an expanded Walker Art Center, and a major expansion
of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Twin Cities is home
to the Loft Literary Arts Center and an abundance of other arts
institutions, has more theater seats per capita than any other
city, and offers numerous musical groups with national and international
reputations. The seminary has collaborated with various arts organizations
and, by virtue of its location, offers a rich learning environment
for those interested in accessing those types of institutions.
United’s Religion and the Arts Program has received numerous grants from the Henry Luce Foundation which helped establish the program and has provided ongoing support for the program’s work at a national level. The most recent award from the Luce Foundation will fund two national consultations and a national technology project.
“Our task is an exciting one: to explore the relationships of theology, spirituality, and the arts. It is to ask how a work of art can engage our spirits and invite us on to Holy Ground.”
Wilson Yates, emeritus professor of religion, society and the arts
Religion and the
Arts Contact Information
Cindi Beth Johnson