Biola Launches Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts

Sep. 10, 2013 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. — Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts will launch on Friday, Sept. 20 with a full celebration and concert on the lawn. Open and free to the public, the evening will start with a dedication for the Earl & Virginia Green Art Gallery and conclude with a jazz concert under the stars.

Biola received a grant from Fieldstead and Company to establish the new Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts, a significant initiative that will host events, support artists and seek to promote rich thinking about faith and art.

“This new center will seek to celebrate the role and promise of the arts in understanding our world and in representing a version of truth and beauty to a world that stands in need of a reminder,” said David P. Nystrom, Biola’s provost and senior vice president.

The newly renovated art gallery will open at 6 p.m. featuring the show, “Amass: The Paintings of Linnéa Gabriella Spransy.” At 7 p.m., a formal program will commence outside the gallery featuring Dana Gioia, Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture, USC, and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. The gallery will be dedicated to Roberta’s parents, Earl and Virginia Green.

At 8 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a jazz concert on the lawn in the middle of Biola’s campus adjacent to the art gallery. Biola professor and renowned jazz musician Rique Pantoja has assembled four other powerful jazz artists to join him. The five musicians —Rique Pantoja, keyboard; Alex Acuña, drums and percussion; Abe Laboriel, Sr., bass; Mike Bagasao, sax; and gospel vocalist, Linda McCrary — share a spiritual and artistic depth as they play across musical idioms encompassing jazz, contemporary Christian, Latin and gospel music forms.

The launch event for the Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts is the first of many events for the 2013-14 academic year. See a full schedule of events at

Fieldstead and Company, which is funding the center, was founded by Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., and his wife, Roberta Green Ahmanson, longtime Biola supporters who guided the university’s Year of the Arts in 2011–12. Roberta Ahmanson served as “visionary in residence” for the yearlong celebration, which included dozens of events, lectures and exhibitions centering around the theme of “Sanctuary and Sacred Space.”

For more information on the launch event, CCCA, or interviews with speakers and artists, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at

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