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Artists need the Church to remind them who they are and why they are here. They need the refuge of the Barq of Peter to shield them from the work of the Adversary that preys upon their ego and the wants and desires that are common to all people regardless of their vocation. Artists need the Church as much as the Church needs artists because it is in the Church that the Artists finds True Beauty and the meaning of their lives.
To the degree that we fail to engage with the art in our churches, no matter how beautiful, it is relegated to the role of mood inducing decoration, working through color and abstract shape. We might as well be sitting in the Rothko Chapel as the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
Pope Saint John Paul II perhaps understood the sensibility of artists better than most pontiffs. He was, after all, a poet, playwright, and actor himself. His Letter to Artists, written in 1999, deserves special attention among those struggling to find a way to reconcile being an artist with being Christian.
An aspiring Catholic artist needs to learn not only the skills of his or her art, but also an understanding our traditions, and how to depart from strict adherence to naturalistic appearances so as to reveal the invisible truths of the Faith. Andrew Smith's training offers an education in both the skills and the Catholic tradition of sculpture.
At the close of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pope Paul VI addressed the artists of the world. His words still speak to the artist of today.