Sacred Voices at the Canton Museum

Tobi Kahn
Sacred Voices unite in this exhibit featuring art by “People of the Book.” 

This companion exhibition to “Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible” opens December 5 at the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio. Five participating artists are members of the Jewish Art Salon.

It showcases contemporary works in painting, sculpture and more by artists from around the country, inspired by the Christian, Jewish, or
Richard McBee
Muslim faith. Imagery and artistry combine to offer fresh perspectives on religious texts, narratives and traditions of all people.
 Curated by Michele Waalkes, a Malone University visual arts lecturer.

The Sacred Voices exhibition examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.
Yona Verwer
Throughout much of history, art and religion have been closely intertwined. Sculptures, frescos, mosaics, calligraphy, stained glass, illuminations, paintings, and even architecture have communicated, preserved, and passed down religious beliefs. This convention continues today in a context of increasing freedom for personal expression and interpretation. For some artists, the creative process itself becomes an act of faithfulness.
Elke Sudin
The Sacred Voices exhibit examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.
A diverse selection of media — including calligraphy, wood and metal, digital media, watercolor, photography, oil, block prints, plaster, mixed media, mineral pigments and gold, acrylic, gouache and Japanese stone ink, jewelry, ceramics, and video installation--are incorporated into the exhibit. Over 30 artists are represented, hailing from Australia, Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Exhibiting artists 
Adil Akhtar, Salma Arsutu, Siona Benjamin, Sandra Bowden, Sharon Charmley, Robert Eustace, Barbara Februar, Igal Fedida, Makoto Fujimura, Peter Gould, Hayat Gul, Reem Hammad, Bruce Herman, Tobi Kahn, Ameena Khan, Faraz Khan, Edward Knippers, Philip Lawrence, Eileen Levinson, Richard McBee, Uzma Mirza, Salwa Najm, Sana Naveed, Tony O'Connell, He Qi, Elke Reva Sudin, Deborah Rolnik Raichman, Mordechai Rosenstein, Christina Saj, Susan Savage, Seema Sayyidah, Anne Shams, Joy Stember, Feda Suleiman, Yona Verwer, Tom Wachunas, and Chris Wurst.

Deborah Raichman
About the Canton Museum of Art
The Canton Museum of Art (CMA) is one of Ohio's premier locations for an exceptional visual arts experience. CMA is recognized for powerful national touring exhibits; dynamic CMA-original exhibits; an unrivaled Permanent Collection of American watercolors and contemporary ceramics; and innovative education outreach programs, in-Museum classes and workshops. For more information, including hours, exhibits and special events, call 330.453.7666, visit, Facebook® at “Canton Museum of Art” or @CantonMuseum on Twitter®.

About the Accompanying exhibit The Saint John’s Bible: 
it is the first handwritten and illuminated (illustrated / decorated) Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than 500 years — all 73 books of the Old and New Testaments presented in seven volumes of 1,127 pages — produced using entirely medieval techniques and materials. This magnificent exhibit features 68 original manuscript pages in 34 displays, and is the first touring exhibit to show pages from all completed volumes. Also on display will be the tools, sketches and materials used to create the work, as well as rare books to help to tell the story of this vast creation. The exhibition will remain on view through March 2, 2014.
“This exhibit represents a truly monumental achievement that intersects Christianity and world religions in a contemporary masterpiece of medieval craftsmanship, materials and calligraphy,” said M.J. Albacete, executive director of the Canton Museum of Art.
“What an amazing gift to bring The Saint John's Bible to the Northeast Ohio community — to share ancient craft and modern spiritual vision that created this vast masterpiece of inspiration and joy. This will truly be an experience of a lifetime here in Canton, and Northeast Ohio, not to be missed!”
Tickets for this exhibition are: $10 Adults; $8, Seniors and Students (with valid I.D.); Museum Members are Free; and Children 12 and under, Free. Tickets are available at the Museum Ticket Office during Museum hours, or by calling 330.453.7666, 10am – 5pm weekdays, to reserve tickets. Online ordering at will be available starting Nov. 15. Advance tickets may be picked up at the Museum.
The exhibition is made possible through the collaborative efforts of Canton Museum of Art, Malone University — home to a Heritage Edition fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible — and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Ancient Craft Meets Spiritual Vision in the 21st Century
In 1995, the community of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, initiated a major undertaking to produce a contemporary illuminated Bible using entirely medieval techniques.
The work of creating the Bible involved countless hours of meetings, artist studio time and the financial support of almost 1,400 individual donors. Work on the Bible started with the first words penned on Ash Wednesday, 2000, and the last word, “Amen,” written on May 9, 2011.
At Saint John’s University, the creation of The Saint John’s Bible was directed by a committee of theologians, artists and scholars known as the Committee on Illumination and Text. The actual pages were created by a team of 23 professional scribes, artists and assistants in a scriptorium in Wales, under the artistic direction of renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.
This unique undertaking to create The Saint John’s Bible combines a centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship with the latest capabilities of computer technology and electronic communication — and the ultimate creation is timeless. The words are handwritten on vellum (calfskin) using hand-cut quills fashioned from turkey, swan or goose feathers; 19th century Chinese lamp black ink sticks; and ancient inks hand-ground from natural minerals and stones such as lapis lazuli, malachite and vermillion. The pages are illuminated with the brilliance of 24-karat gold leaf, silver leaf and platinum. The complete work includes 1,127 handwritten pages and over 160 major artworks.

A Magnificent Installation at the Canton Museum of Art
The exhibition at the Canton Museum of Art will include original folios (pages) from all seven of the volumes of The Saint John’s Bible which make up the complete Old and New Testament: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Books, Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Acts, and Letters and Revelation. 68 pages will be on view, including 32 vivid illuminations that share the pages with the graceful script. Highlights include the illuminations for Creation, Adam and Eve, The Ten Commandments, Esther, Vision of Isaiah, Valley of the Dry Bones, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Wisdom Woman, The Genealogy of Christ, Loaves and Fishes, The Opening to the Gospel of John, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Vision of the New Jerusalem.
Visitors will find themselves being drawn in by the striking modern illuminations, vibrant colors and thoughtful treatment of these ancient texts. Strands of DNA are woven into the illumination of the Genealogy of Christ, along with ancestral names inscribed in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Satellite photos of the Ganges River Delta and photos from the Hubble telescope were used to depict Creation. In Acts, the image To the Ends of the Earth includes the first vision of the Earth as seen from space in a handwritten Bible.
Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible will also present the story of the book’s creation. Artist tools and materials along with preliminary sketches and artist drafts will be on display, giving insight into the thinking and processes used in creating the pages. A small selection of ancient rare books and manuscripts will be showcased, providing a historical context for the manuscript tradition and serve as a testament to the durability of the traditional methods and materials used in the project.
“I hope some of the emotion that we have collectively managed to put into the Bible will touch the hearts and emotions of those people who look at what we put onto the pages,” said Donald Jackson, artistic director of The Saint John’s Bible.
The Saint John’s Bible is a work of art that will ignite the spiritual imagination of audiences throughout the world. As Smithsonian magazine proclaimed, “One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time.”

Exhibition-Related Calendar Highlights
In coordination with the opening of The Saint John’s Bible and the Canton Museum of Art’s Education Outreach Program, numerous arts and cultural groups as well as universities throughout the region will be participating with related events, exhibits and performances: 

Opening Night Celebration
Thursday, December 5, 2013 • 6:00 – 9:00pm
Museum Members: $35 • Non-Members: $45.00 (includes a 1-year Museum membership)
Enjoy a magical evening touring “The Saint John’s Bible,” including a gallery talk with Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible; CMA Executive Director M.J. Albacete; Sacred Voices curator, Michele Waalkes; and more. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and music from the Canton Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Trio throughout the evening. Call 330.453.7666 to reserve tickets.

Christmas at Malone — "Illuminating the Word" Friday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 8 at 3 p.m.

Usher in the holiday season as the Malone University Department of Music presents “Christmas at Malone” 2013. This concert combines Scripture and music in a joyful celebration of the Lord's Nativity. Order tickets online at $10 for general admission ($12 at the door) $7 for seniors (60 and older) ($8 at the door). All performances take place in the Worship Center of the Johnson Center for Worship and the Fine Arts. Contact the Fine Arts office at 330.471.8231 for more information.
Canton Museum of Art Education Classes
Bookmaking Techniques and Illuminations
Nov. 24, 2013, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Jan. 26, 2014, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Canton Museum of Art • 330.453.7666 to register or online at
Learn 3 basic bookmaking techniques: the accordion fold technique, a single signature format and a Japanese stab binding. Using paint, colored pencil and collage create an illuminated page for one of the books reminiscent of the kind of illustrations done in The Saint John’s Bible and similar illuminated texts. Cost: $30 (Cost for Members: $24)
Teacher / Educator Workshop:
The Saint John’s Bible: A Modern Manuscript with a Medieval Twist!
Dec 3, 2013, 4:00 – 6:30pm
Canton Museum of Art • 330.453.7666 to register or online at
Participate in this engaging and informative workshop taught by the Director of The Saint John’s Bible, Tim Ternes. Participants will be introduced to the materials, techniques and artwork of The Saint John’s Bible, with the hands-on opportunity to try some of the Medieval methods and tools used in making the Bible. Content is appropriate for both public and private schools and applicable to grades 3 -12, however the teaching methods may be adapted to any grade level. Cost: $20 (Members: $15)
Foundations of Calligraphy Dec. 8, 2013, 2:00 – 4:00pm Jan. 12, 2014, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. This workshop will focus on the important techniques needed to produce eye-catching hand written letters. The proper use of the pen, pen angles and letter height will be discussed and demonstrated. Participants will have exercises to do. These beautiful marks when put to together produce the "family of letters" in what we know as calligraphy. Cost: $30 (Members: $24)
Religious Calligraphy Workshop
Feb. 16, 2014, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Canton Museum of Art • 330.453.7666 to register
In this age of computers and text messages, the art of writing by hand has become rare. We speak, and often write, in abbreviations. Taking the time to write out a Scripture passage engages us in the kind of activity that Proverbs 7:3 advises: “we write the words on the tablets of our hearts, not just in our heads.” Bring your favorite biblical or inspirational passages and create a meaningful calligraphic piece of art beautiful enough to be displayed and cherished. Cost: $30 (Members: $24)

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of: Malone University, Stark Community Foundation, Acme Fresh Market, The Henry & Louise Timken Foundation, The John & Carole Van Abel Charitable Fund, Timken Family Charitable Trust, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, The Albert W. & Edith Flowers Charitable Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. William Luntz, Bill & Carolyn Lemmon, The Robert DeHoff Family, Mark & Beverly Belgya, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Leibensperger, Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Wilkof, Judith Lancaster, and Harold Ziegler, Jr. Special thanks to the Canton Repository and WKSU for media support, and the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsInStark for continued exhibition and operating support of the Canton Museum of Art.

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