Vito and Monique Aiuto: The Welcome Wagon

Musicians Vito and Monique Aiuto
of Welcome Wagon

Issue #161 | January 1, 2009

Artist of the Month: Kim Alexander
Register Now for the 2009 Glen Workshop!
Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris
Welcome Wagon: Welcome to the Welcome Wagon
Folkerts: Unfinished Business
Bailout Sale Extended until January 31!

Message Board
On A Caravan: East and West Journeying Together through the Arts
International Arts Movement's Encounter 09: "Art in Action"

Image Readings: Robert Clark
Want to Work for Image This Summer?
Subscribe to Image in Print


Artist of the Month: Kim Alexander    

Painter and Artist of the Month Kim AlexanderKim Alexander, who profiled the Austin-based collage artist Lance Letscher in Image issue 44, is also a delightful artist in her own right. Her quirky, surrealistic paintings mix crisp, playful design elements and trompe l'oeil images with deeply compassionate portraits of pain and loss. At once intellectual and humane, witty and emotive, her work bears the influence of her extensive reading in philosophy and aesthetics as well as her experience teaching immigrant students at an urban high school in Dallas. Her essay on Letscher combines a thorough engagement of art-world ideas with a working painter's eye: she illuminates his use of color and texture, placing it within the context of his larger project of giving expression to mystery, and along the way she wrestles with the legacy of modernism and the limitations of postmodern skepticism. Alexander herself is an artist who understands the need for community--and who works to create it. Along with Mike Capps she organizes the Trinity Arts Conference each June at the University of Dallas, an annual arts festival dedicated to fostering community and craft excellence among believing artists and writers--in particular to young artists and those who feel isolated or ignored within the Christian world. For us at Image, Kim exemplifies a life lived in response to a calling, both to artistic excellence and to serving others.

Click here for more.

Register Now for the 2009 Glen Workshop, "Fully Human: Art and the Religious Sense"
July 26 – August 2, 2009

2009 Glen Workshop, "Fully Human: Art and the Relgious Sense"The Glen Workshop is an illuminating conference on the arts and religion, where participants practice and strengthen their craft and vision in community. This weeklong event combines the best elements of a workshop, an arts festival, and a symposium. By exploring this year's theme, "Fully Human: Art and the Religious Sense," participants will share a common ground for discussion during the week. Morning workshops are small enough to allow the faculty to give close attention to each participant--to beginners as well as those advanced in their craft. This year's faculty includes poets Marilyn Nelson and B.H Fairchild, fiction writer Valerie Sayers, sculptor Lynn Aldrich, illustrator Barry Moser, painter Joel Sheesley, playwright Mark St. Germain, musicians Linford Detweiler and Karin Berquist of Over the Rhine, and spiritual writer Lauren Winner. A seminar class, "Culture Making: Meaning in the Material World" will be led by Andy Crouch. For artists and non-artists alike, the seminar is a forum to explore the workshop theme in more depth through discussion and in-class creativity. Afternoons and evenings at the Glen feature faculty readings, lectures, and presentations. Each evening concludes with an ecumenical worship service that incorporates the arts, led by pastor Debbie Blue. Free time offers participants opportunities for writing, conversation, hiking, and exploring the stunning scenery and cultural treasures in and around Santa Fe. Surrounded by the stark, dramatic beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Glen is hosted at St. John's College campus and is within easy reach of the rich cultural, artistic, and spiritual traditions of northern New Mexico. Please note that class sizes are limited: don't wait too long to register!

To register for the Glen Workshop, or to find out more information, click here. Brochures are being mailed now to subscribes. If you're not on our subscriber list and you'd like to have a brochure mailed to you, send us an e-mail by clicking here.

Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris

Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris

When Christianity was in its infancy, ascetic men and women retreated to the deserts of north Africa and the Middle East to battle in prayer against the logosmoi--the demons that haunted humankind in the form of evil thoughts. These were considered deadly to the life of prayer and stillness that the monks were trying to cultivate, and stemming their attacks required discipline, humility, and knowledge. Experienced monastics wrote manuals telling their younger peers how to recognize and defend themselves against the various demons. One of the most dangerous was "acedia," variously translated as apathy, torpor, sloth, or restlessness. The spirituality of the desert monastics, with their harsh asceticism and supernatural vocabulary, might seem pretty far removed from modern experience, but beloved and best-selling spiritual writer Kathleen Norris demonstrates otherwise. Part memoir, part spiritual history, Acedia and Me chronicles the history of this mysterious and little-understood ailment, both in the West at large and in Norris's personal experience. In both cases, there appears to be a sad and pervasive link between acedia and the creative life. As in her other books, Amazing Grace, Dakota, and The Cloister Walk, Norris blends raw, funny, and revealing memoir with intellectual curiosity and extensive reading. As she narrates her struggles with the discipline of writing, depression, and the loss of her husband, the poet David Dwyer, Norris delves more and more deeply into the history of this ancient idea--and finds that the centuries-old wisdom of obscure desert fathers like Evagrius Ponticus and John Cassian may have more analogues to modern experience, and more points of connection with the modern discipline of psychology, than one might think.

Click here to buy the book.

Welcome Wagon: Welcome to the Welcome Wagon      

Welcome to the Welcome Wagon by The Welcome WagonSoon after their wedding, Rev. Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique bought a guitar to play hymns together, subsequently adding glockenspiel, harmonica, and vocals to the mix. After playing a few local gigs for friends, as well as collaborating with Sufjan Stevens in 2001 on To Spirit Back the Mews, the couple dubbed themselves Welcome Wagon. Vito and Monique were both raised in Tecumseh, Michigan. After Vito finished his studies at Princeton and Monique completed her MFA, the couple moved to Brooklyn to plant Resurrection Presbyterian Church and to pursue their music. With down-home humility and traditional sounding tunes, Welcome Wagon's debut, Welcome to the Welcome Wagon, was released late last year. And while the album maintains much of the intimacy of a couple simply playing music in their living room, many of the tunes have received orchestration help from Stevens--horns, drums, and various other eclectic noise-makers. The album ranges from the traditional sounds of "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" to the falsetto-laced, slower paces of "Hail." The marching-band-folksiness of "Sold! To The Nice Rich Man" lends itself to the jargon of the charlatan character in its lyrical landscape: "Rich man came to our town / and wandered around. / Rich man came to change our minds, / change our plans, take our things." The beautiful "Up on a Mountain" recalls the harmonies of Elliot Smith and Simon and Garfunkel: "Up on a mountain, the Lord is afraid / carrying all of the mistakes we have made. / And He knew it's a long way down. / Do you know, it's a long way down?" With a good amount of industry buzz and critical acclaim, Welcome to the Welcome Wagon sold out of its first release by early December; the band's label, Asthmatic Kitty, is currently making more copies. The album is also available through iTunes.

For more information, click here.

Folkerts: Unfinished Business    

Folkerts: Unfinished BusinessPlans are nearing completion for a major exhibit of the work of Canadian visual artist Gerald Folkerts to be held in Winnipeg at Outworks Gallery, January 29 through February 1, 2009. Entitled Folkerts: Unfinished Business, the exhibit will include paintings from Folkerts's unfinished "Head over Heels" series--a number of affectionate portraits of people often found on the periphery. The exhibit will also feature a cross-section of earlier work, including several from the "Restless Slumber" series. Dr. Calvin Seerveld, Senior Member Emeritus in Philosophical Aesthetics Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto has said, "Folkerts has the wisdom to let his Christian faith subtly percolate in the spirit of his painterly art by showing compassion for the problematic figures he treats." Folkerts has long numbered himself as one of his own "problematic figures," as is evidenced in his self-portrait from the "Restless Slumber" series. There is now a deep poignancy to Seerveld's observation, and to the exhibit's subtitle, "Unfinished Business." Folkerts is in the late stages of a struggle with an inoperable brain tumor, leaving his "Head over Heels" series unfinished and his life brought up unexpectedly short. The works of Gerald Folkerts deserve to be known for their own merit--the sooner the better. Folkerts: Unfinished Business will formally open on the evening of Thursday, January 29, with an address by Calvin Seerveld and a tribute in music by Steve Bell. The exhibit will close at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday February 1, with a brief liturgy and a pastoral meditation by Dr. Seerveld.

For more information about the artist and the exhibit, click here.

Bailout Sale Extended until January 31!       Bailout Sale

Shop now on the Image website for massive discounts on back issues and books. We've extended our Bailout Sale until January 31, 2009. Nearly everything in our online store is marked down, with discounts from 10% to 70% off, and more on bulk orders. Stock up while you can! This sale will be available only until the end of the month, and in some cases while supplies last.

Click here to shop at the bailout rate.


Message Board

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On A Caravan: East and West Journeying Together through the Arts

Under the banner On A Caravan: East and West Journeying Together through the Arts, an unprecedented gathering of 20 renowned Egyptian and Western artists are coming together in Cairo, Egypt to use art as a bridge for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue toward building bridges of understanding and respect between East and West, Muslims and Christians. Participants range from one of Egypt's leading contemporary artists, Mohamed Abla, to local artists. Each artist is producing two pieces of work on ideas that reflect the collective theme: East and West Journeying Together. All 40 works of art will be exhibited within the historic St. John's Church in Cairo for a selling exhibition from January 29-February 5, 2009 (with an opening reception at 8 p.m. on January 29th). For more information email [email protected] or click here.

International Arts Movement's Encounter 09: "Art in Action"

IAM's Encounter 09: "Art in Action" will take place February 26-28 in New York City. Workshops, masterclasses, and performances will feature former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Limon Dance, jazz pianist Helen Sung, artist Makoto Fujimura, actress/writer Susan Isaacs, philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff, photographer David Sacks, journalist Alice Rhee, artist Eva Flatscher, Roberta Ahmanson, and many others. Register now at (Early bird registration discount through January 1; student and group discounts available as well.)

New Release: Book Two of the Psalter

ImageNews -- The Scoop on Our Programs

Image Readings: Robert Clark   Robert Clark

As a crafter of narrative--both in his fiction and creative nonfiction--Robert Clark is a writer who is never in a rush. In an era when we all bemoan the speed and superficiality of our daily lives, Robert Clark is the perfect antidote: his slowness reminds us of how much we miss and desperately need to recapture.

Click here to listen.

Want to Work for Image This Summer?

Lucy Shaw FellowAre you an undergraduate student who'd like to work for Image this coming summer? Or do you know someone who might be interested? The purpose of the Luci Shaw Fellowship is to expose a promising student to the world of literary publishing and introduce him or her to the contemporary dialogue about art and faith that surrounds Image, its programs, its contributors, and its peer organizations. In short, we're looking for summer fellows who share our vision for the place art has in the life of faith, and who are also diligent, meticulous, and responsible about the daily details. There's grunt work galore in this job, but also plenty of opportunities to grasp the vision at the heart of a dynamic arts organization. The Shaw Fellow will also receive a scholarship to Image's Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Applications are due February 1, 2009.

To learn more about the Luci Shaw Fellowship, and to download an application, click here.

Subscribe to Image in Print and Get More Art, Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Interviews, and Every Good Thing

If you like reading about great new art and writing inspired by faith in ImageUpdate, and you're ready to get down to reading and seeing the stuff itself, it's time to subscribe to Image. Each quarter our editors comb the world of art and letters to bring you our favorite new work--work that respects transcendent mystery as well as the gritty truth of the material world that bears the divine imprint. A one-year subscription gets you four beautifully produced issues delivered right to your door. Ninety percent of the journal's content is not available on our website, but only through what we call "the sacrament of print." Click here to get the magazine Terry Tempest Williams calls "evocative and inspiring" and Bret Lott calls "the most meaningful literary journal being produced today."


Publisher: Gregory Wolfe
Managing Editor: Beth Bevis
Layout: David Rither
Contributors: Mary Kenagy Mitchell, Matt Malyon, and Julie Mullins

ImageUpdate is the biweekly e-mail newsletter from Image, a quarterly print journal that explores the relationship between Judeo-Christian faith and art through contemporary fiction, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, and dance. Each issue also features interviews, memoirs, essays, and reviews.

ImageUpdate brings you news about books, CDs, organizations, websites, conferences, exhibitions, and tours--all of which inhabit the intersection between faith and imagination. ImageUpdate will also notify you whenever a new issue of Image is printed, an Image event is upcoming, or new content is posted to our website.

Copyright © 2008 Center for Religious Humanism. All rights reserved.

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