Thank you to Ann Marra for sharing the following information regarding the Foundation for Sacred Arts. The Foundation's President will be featured tomorrow, Friday, July 17 at 8:00 pm on EWTN's The World Over.  I strongly recommend a visit to the Foundation's website to view an amazing selection of work, resources and contact information for artists, composers, authors and more.

Throughout my academic career, I have maintained a commitment to the arts, and since my conversion to Catholicism in 2006, I have aspired to promote an appreciation for artistic beauty within the context of the Catholic faith. It was through my own encounter with the brilliance of Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa and The Fountain of the Four Rivers that I was awakened to the truth of the theological perspectives which informed them. It is now my earnest desire to facilitate a greater awareness of the indissoluble marriage of truth and beauty, in order that a demand for beauty might permeate the production of sacred arts today, and thus allow others to encounter in them the radiance of Christ.

The Foundation for Sacred Arts has been established for precisely this purpose. As a Catholic non-profit organization, we aim to stimulate a renewed vibrancy in the patronage and production of Christian sacred arts (art, architecture, music); and to advance the pursuit of excellence in conformity with truth, goodness and beauty in these arts; for the glory of God, the life of His Church, and the transformation of culture.

The Foundation's initiatives include educational opportunities such as lectures, conferences and symposia; tours of museums, shrines, churches and places of pilgrimage throughout the country; an on-line archive of artists, architects, and composers; and events such as competitions, exhibitions, and concerts. Our objectives are thus in accord with Pope Benedict XVI's directive "to stir up awe at and desire for the beautiful, form the sensitivity of souls and nourish the passion for all that which is an authentic expression of the human genius and a reflection of divine beauty." Indeed, as Pope John Paul II stated is his Letter to Artists, "in order to communicate the message entrusted her by Christ, the Church needs art."

Through the generous support of private donations, our organization has already been able to realize two national traveling exhibitions featuring the highest caliber examples of contemporary sacred art. Spring of 2009 brought our Washington, DC based lecture series, The Beauty that Saves: Art in the Life of the Church, and our Chicago, IL day conference, A New Way of Seeing: Understanding Christian Art. Both were met with enthusiasm and lively discussion.

Fall of 2009 will feature two additional highly anticipated events. Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at BostonCollege and author of over 45 books, will speak about "The Power of Beauty in the Sacred Arts" on September 12th at 7:30pm at St. Mary's parish in OldTown, Alexandria, VA. The Foundation will also sponsor The Mysteries of the Rosary: an exhibition of 20 paintings by the renowned artist Anthony Visco, on view during the month of October (the month of the Rosary) at the National Shrine Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Mr. Visco was recently commissioned by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke as a principal artist for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The looming recession, however, has already encumbered many otherwise enthusiastic supporters of our work, and while private donations have already been allocated to cover the costs of our remaining 2009 projects, we are still in need of an additional $20,000 to cover general operating costs through the balance of this year. We have a number of exciting projects that we are eager to commence even in 2010, including a third national traveling exhibition and competition entitled, I Believe: The Creed in Art and our first sacred choral composition competition (details can be found at: www.thesacredarts.org). We also aim to update the Foundation website in order to feature an online archive of the finest examples of contemporary sacred art, architecture, and music, as a resource for art enthusiasts and patrons alike.

Though our tough economic climate may seem unfavorable to this aim, it is precisely during this time of anxiety and uncertainty that the beauty of Christ will offer hope to a troubled world. As the preeminent 20th century Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote, "Beauty opens our hearts, inviting us to transcendence and leading us 'in conspectum Dei'- before the face of God." We have been offered a pivotal moment for the transformation of culture, but our apostolate cannot succeed without continued prayers and support.

Ann Marra
Executive Director, The Foundation for Sacred Arts