Art, music, poetry, inspirational and creative performances and more will be presented in Springfield from May 6-15. The biennial Festival of Liturgical Arts is back after a hiatus due to COVID-19. It is an interreligious celebration of liturgical arts, reflecting a mutual appreciation of artistic expression.
As the festival draws on the diversity of faith traditions in our community, people of all faiths – or with no faith or religious affiliation – are invited to enjoy a wide variety of exhibits of art, music, theater and other artistic performances and programs. This is the 13th Festival of Liturgical Arts in Springfield, founded as an interfaith non-profit organization in 1995 by local clergy, artists and community volunteers. Springfield is unique in offering this type of festival for its community.
Delinda Chapman, vice president of programming and longtime board member of the Festival of Liturgical Arts, says the event is about sharing, learning about others’ paths, and appreciating different traditions without judging. religions and the different paths we take. Chapman is a practicing Buddhist, a practicing artist, and an active participant in the Springfield arts community.
Music, dance, theatre, poetry and the visual arts are a window into cultural expressions of creativity, beauty and community life. The first program on Friday, May 6, at 7 p.m. is part of an existing series of First Friday concerts at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (524 E. Lawrence). “Priestly Praise” will feature Mark Gifford and the priests of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield playing the organ. The final program at 6 p.m. Sunday May 15, will be a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade through the streets surrounding First Christian Church, followed by a jazz concert, inside the church, by the band Frank Parker and Mark McKnight.
See and learn about the spectacular stained glass windows of the Convent and Chapel of the Sacred Heart (1237 W. Monroe St.) on a tour on Monday, May 9, at 18 o’clock. It will be followed at 7 p.m. by an informative lecture on the art and architecture of the magnificent chapel, presented by the famous local historian Anthony Rubano. The American Guild of Organists and the Temple Israel Choir will present a wedding music concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral Church (815 S. Second St.) on Tuesday May 10, at 7 p.m., preceded by an exhibition of wedding art and clothing at 6 p.m.
A new type of presentation at this year’s festival is the program on Friday May 13, at 18 hours, At a Glance: Celebrating the Journey of Life. This theatrical presentation of spoken word and music will be presented by Leigh Steiner and Phil Funkenbusch at First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. Seventh St. Staab Funeral Home will feature the Lincoln Hearse and feature the Timothy Krause grave goods collection on Saturday May 14from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., accompanied by music and poetry.
In addition to these live performances and programs, the Sacred and Liturgical Art Exhibition is an integral part of the festival. The exhibition is a joint effort of the Liturgical Arts Festival and the Springfield Art Association (SAA). This juried exhibition reflects the talent and diversity of distinguished artists from across the country, who represent many faiths, cultures and traditions. Submissions should express a commitment to interfaith understanding, coexistence, peace and cultural exchange. A curatorial committee made up of individual artists and community members reviewed the call for submissions; a second panel of jurors selected the winners to receive prizes. The art will be exhibited at the SAA April 20-May 28with a reception on Saturday May 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Selected artists from Springfield and surrounding communities include Colleen Ferratier, George King, Zille Huma, Sheri Ramsey, Bri Skeels and Meda Rives Smith. Their work is exhibited along with creative expressions by artists from other communities in Illinois and 15 other states. The exhibition also offers the opportunity to purchase original liturgical art.
For more information on the Liturgical Arts Festival, go to http://www.lafspringfield.org/.
The Springfield Festival of Liturgical Arts logo was designed by Dale Rogers for the 1998 festival. It is an homage to the brilliant paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse and attempts to illustrate the artistic quest of the human spirit towards the Divine . The hand reaches out to ancient symbols of God and places that reflect God’s handiwork. Nature is represented by a single leaf. The wonders of creation are represented by the spiral or coil of life. A starburst represents light and the cosmos. Dale Rogers is a founding member of the Springfield Liturgical Arts Festival. Rogers has been Director of Music and Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church since 1986. –from the Festival of Liturgical Arts website
Karen Ackerman Witter is a frequent contributor to Illinois Times. She enjoys reporting on arts and culture and believes that natural and cultural resources and the arts enrich people’s lives and build strong communities. She is looking forward to attending the next Festival of Liturgical Arts.