Art and Sacred Places


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Registered Charity No: 1157364

Rose Finn-Kelcey's 'Angel' for St Paul's Bow Common

Art and Sacred Places

Creative Conversations

Commissions exciting and innovative work from contemporary artists for sacred places

Stimulates creative dialogue through encounters with art and the sacred

Widens vision through education and participation


'The Work of Art and Sacred Places', NSEAD National Conference: Inclusion, Innovation and Diversity, University of the Arts, London, 2016.

In 2016 trustees of Art and Sacred Places were invited to speak to delegates at the annual conference for The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD). The theme was: Inclusion, Innovation and Diversity: How outstanding art craft and design education can significantly lead on British values and the development of social, moral, cultural and spiritual developments. Dr Jonathan Koestlé-Cate and the Venerable Alastair Cutting introduced the mission of Art and Sacred Places through three projects broadly applicable to the theme of the conference.

We began by suggesting that the relevance of spirituality to art and design education is inevitably a contested issue. To some people the notion of 'spiritual development' represents something rather vague while to others, especially within the church, it means something very specific. In many respects spirituality becomes the term of convenience whenever something is seen or said to exceed the material, conceptual or rational, even if such catholic possibilities bring with them their own difficulties. If the elasticity of the term contributes to its convenience of use it also underlines its somewhat vague and nebulous nature. Such difficulties aside, many would argue that, whether conceived in religious terms or not, the spiritual is rudimentary to human existence, and artists are among those who seek to give it sensuous form.

In this short presentation there wasn't time to ruminate further on this question. Instead, a brief introduction to Art and Sacred Places and three of our projects served to give concrete form to this relationship between art and spiritual development.

We stressed the fact that Art and Sacred Places is primarily art led although its Board is from a variety of faith, arts and business backgrounds. Our practice includes exhibitions and commissions, sometimes permanent, sometimes more challenging temporary commissions, and mutually beneficial interfaith projects. Our mission is to engage with new audiences by exploring the relationship between art and spirituality, encouraging debate, promoting understanding and educational interaction.

Three projects served to illustrate this mission: Nicola Dale's Between, a temporary artwork for Manchester Cathedral and Manchester Islamic Centre and Didsbury Mosque, Transpire, a permanent work for St Bede's Catholic College in Bristol, by Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, one of the artists chosen to represent the Holy See in the 2015 Venice Biennale, and Rose Finn-Kelcey's Angel for St Paul's Bow Common.

Information on each of these projects is available elsewhere on our website: Past projects

These three projects encouraged a sense of spiritual development through interfaith collaboration, through the creation of an experience of beauty and wonder in a humble school stairwell, and through an installation that had great appeal for the local community, acknowledging a communality of understanding between the church and its East London neighbours.


Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace, written by ASP Trustee, Jonathan Koestlé-Cate


Art and Sacred Places would like to announce the publication in May 2016 of Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace, written by ASP Trustee, Jonathan Koestlé-Cate

Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace notes that a vibrant critical exchange between contemporary art and Christianity is being increasingly prompted by an expanding programme of art installations and commissions for ecclesiastical spaces. Rather than 'religious art' reflecting Christian ideology, current practices frequently initiate projects that question the values and traditions of the host space, or present objects and events that challenge its visual conventions.

In the light of these developments, this book asks what conditions are favourable to enhancing and expanding the possibilities of church-based art, and how can these conditions be addressed? What viable language or strategies can be formulated to understand and analyse art's role within the church?

Focusing on concepts drawn from anthropology, comparative religion, art theory, theology and philosophy, Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace formulates a lexicon of terms built around the notion of encounter in order to review the effective uses and experience of contemporary art in churches.

The author concludes with the prognosis that art for the church has reached a critical and decisive phase in its history, testing the assumption that contemporary art should be a taken-for-granted element of modern church life.

Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace uniquely combines conceptual analysis, critical case studies and practical application in a rigorous and inventive manner, dealing specifically with contemporary art of the past twenty-five years, and the most recent developments in the church's policies for the arts.

See the publisher's website for more details:

© 2016 – Routledge - Art and the Church: A Fractious Embrace




A pilgrimage for art lovers

10 February (Ash Wednesday) - 28 March (Easter Monday)




New Stations for a ‘New Jerusalem’

This unique exhibition—held in 14 stations across London—uses works of art to tell the story of the Passion in a new way, for people of different faiths. In this pilgrimage for art lovers, viewers will travel across London, mapping the geography of the Holy Land onto the streets of a ‘new Jerusalem.’

The Stations will weave through religious as well as secular spaces, from cathedrals to museums. The art on display will run the gamut from Old Master paintings to contemporary video installations. Artists will include Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists. Instead of easy answers, the Stations aim to provoke the passions: artistically, spiritually, and politically.

See the exhibition website for the latest news and information on all the artworks and their locations:

Coexist House



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