Biola University’s Upcoming Symposium Intertwines Faith and Art

Mar. 5, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. --- Biola University’s annual art symposium, Practicing Theology: Art & Culture-Making in Contemporary Christianity, will create a forum for Christians and non-Christians to discuss art, faith and culture. More than 300 attendees including community members, area artists and students are expected at this year’s conference focusing on fully engaging contemporary culture.

Gregory Wolfe, the keynote speaker and founder and director of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion — one of Americas leading literary journals, has been instrumental in leading by example of how to positively influence and connect with arts culture in North America.

This year’s symposium will be in contrast to last year’s that featured speaker and well-known art historian James Elkins. Elkins presented the difficulties the contemporary art world has with religion and religious based art. Wolfe, synchronized with the symposium program, will focus on what artists can do to rectify the situation and discuss how to engage contemporary culture.

Community artists and program presenters from various area institutions will join the keynote speaker this year in an effort to expand the symposium audience for other Christian institutions and area artists. The symposium will include writers, musicians, filmmakers and theologians for the first time this year.

Practicing Theology: Art & Culture-Making in Contemporary Christianity is the fifth in a series of symposiums created and hosted by the Biola University Department of Art. In the past, these events have engaged both the Biola academic community as well as the larger Southern California arts community in stimulating and thoughtful dialogs regarding contemporary art and Christian faith.

The goals of the symposia are to create a compelling forum for artists to discuss and think about their vocation in a contemporary context, to create space for dialogue between Christians and non-Christians regarding the relationship between art and faith, foster cross disciplinary discussions, and to positively contribute to a broader regional Christian academic discourse.

In an effort to make the symposium available to anyone interested, the event is free and open to everyone. The symposium will commence Friday morning, March 6, 2009, and will continue through the evening of March 7. Wolfe will kick off the symposium at chapel in Chase Gymnasium on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Click here to view the Art Symposium schedule and locations.

Registration not required.


Biola University is a private Christian university located in Southern California on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties in the city of La Mirada. For over 100 years, Biola has remained committed to its biblical foundation, integrating biblical principles with every academic program. U.S. News & World Report recognizes Biola as a “National University,” which is considered the “major leagues” of higher education. In addition to its focus on intentional spiritual development and career preparation, Biola offers a unique academic environment where all faculty, staff and students are professing Christians. With over 145 academic programs in seven schools, Biola offers degrees ranging from B.A. to Ph.D. For more information, visit or call (562) 777 – 4061.

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