In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis suggests that beauty comes to us as “brightness, splendour, and luminosity.” We know that encounters with beauty are essential to human flourishing. Indeed, such experiences capture our imagination and animate our souls; they invite us to pause and consider the nature and meaning of our material world and the one who created it all. In the modern period, artists often had a conflicted relationship to beauty. On one hand, they were drawn to beauty’s sublime qualities. On the other, they realized that a superficial understanding of beauty could be either a means to avoid the world’s suffering or a charm that incites consumer desire. Nonetheless, our need for beauty remains. In the shadow of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace there exists what some describe as a “broken beauty” — beauty that still captures heart and mind but contends with the fallenness of our world. This exhibit gathers more than 35 contemporary works of art executed in a variety of media and genres that bear witness to beauty as it appears to us in the complex landscape of contemporary culture.

Book The Beautiful

The Beautiful opened at Calvin College’s Center Gallery in conjunction with the 2018 Calvin Symposium on Worship. The four-week rental fee for this exhibit is $600—CIVA Member organizations and institutions receive a 10% discount. Host galleries are also responsible for additional shipping costs. Each rental will be accompanied by high-quality printed exhibit guides. To reserve this exhibit for your gallery, or for more information, please contact us at

The Beautiful Image Gallery

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Our juror for this exhibit is Mary McCleary, a long-time CIVA member, and contemporary artist currently living and working in Nacogdoches, Texas. Mary is the Stephen F. Austin State University Regent’s Professor of Art Emeritus. Assisting Mary in the selection process is Michelle Westmark Wingard, a current member of CIVA’s board of directors and Gallery Director at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota.