CIVA_Squares-Conference_2019Are We There Yet

June 13-16, 2019
Bethel University, St. Paul, MN

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of CIVA’s founding, the 2019 biennial conference will return to our geographical roots at Bethel University. Are We There Yet is more than a catchy title, it’s a space for convergence: a chance to celebrate CIVA’s long history and devoted membership, as well as an opportunity to convene contemporary artists, collectors, ministers, and teachers seeking to collectively imagine the future of CIVA.

Entering the third decade of the twenty-first century, we recognize the unfinished state of our creative work, for CIVA, for the world. The concept of unfinishedness can be described in theological terms with the phrases like “already but not yet,” participating now in the “life of the world to come.” Meanwhile, the concept of unfinishedness is an essential lens through which to view art and art movements. What does leaving a work undone mean for an artist, and what effect does that have on the unfolding dialogue which ensues with its audience? Curator Alistair Sooke reminds us that there is an “important category of unfinished artwork: those that only seem unfinished, but which their artists actually deemed complete, because they were striving, intentionally, for an unresolved aesthetic.” Similarly, Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s entire curatorial practice is grounded in asking artists “what their unrealized projects” are, and attempting to make “impossible things possible.”

Much has been achieved, yet much still remains to be explored and learned. It is with this understanding that we approach the 2019 CIVA Conference theme: Are We There Yet.

We’re excited to recall how far the art and faith conversation has come, while providing a platform to a new generation of Christians in the Visual Arts. We believe that the work started 40 years ago by a group of artists committed to the idea of seriously exploring the intersection of art and faith has just begun. Together, we hope to embrace the discomfort of working within the tension of work unfinished.

If celebrating the legacy of CIVA and contributing to the dialogue about what it might become excites you, please join us in Minnesota in 2019! Our Conference Planning Committee, co-chaired by Meaghan Ritchey and Joe Cory, is deep into the work of making preparations. Registration is now open! In the months to come, we will publish additional details concerning program, speakers, exhibits, and much more on the conference pages.

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