CONGREGATE art + faith + community

September 6-25, 2013

Sheila & Richard Riggs and Leidy galleries, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Graduate Studio Center

Baltimore, MD

Curated by the MFA in Curatorial Practice class of 2014 at MICA


CONGREGATE art + faith + community was an exhibition and series of programs that created shared experiences for faith-based congregations and artistic communities within the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Curated by the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice class of 2014, CONGREGATE established artist residencies within five places of worship and offered public programs in which members of each congregation can collaborate creatively. CONGREGATE created a space in which artists and congregants can come together to develop a better understanding of one another—and allowed spiritual sites to become active parts of the Station North arts community.


Participating local and regional artists were paired with Station North Places of worship to plan the creation of new works of art. The artists and congregations who participated were: Performance artist Bashi Rose at 7th Metro Church, Installation and Video artist Katherine Kavanaugh at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Sculptor Leo Hussey at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Photographer Tiffany Jones at New Second Missionary Baptist Church, Performer and Sculptor Laure Drogoul at Spiritual Empowerment Center and New York roving interdisciplinary artist Leigh Davis who photographed all of the congregations and created a video in collaboration with New 2nd Missionary Baptist Church and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. The resulting sculptures, installations, and participatory works were informed by three months of engagement between the artists and congregations.


There were various programs included in the "CONGREGATE” exhibition:


  • We had an opening celebration for “CONGREGATE” which included over 400 guests from the congregations, Station North, and MICA.


  • To launch our catalog, we had a celebratory closing reception that featured live music performed by every congregation. Thanks to MICA’s Office of Diversity, ice cream was served as well!


  • Community Dinners were provided for congregation leaders, members and participating artists. These community dinners fostered better relationships and prompted initial dialogue that guided the entire project. These helped in sustaining relationships after the project ended.


  • “CONGREGATE” hosted an Open Studio Tour, which invited guests to visit each of the five congregations to get a sneak peek of the artwork being made for the show and a chance to meet the artists in residence and congregation communities.


  • A theatrical performance and video installation called “Closets” was done in collaboration with congregants and the Baltimore Performance Kitchen. “Closets” was about the universal practice of hiding an aspect of our lives from ourselves and/or others due to fears of losing security, support, or a sense of belonging.


  • A series of workshops were provided for youth from the congregations. These workshops included screen-printing sessions at Baltimore Print Studios, which resulted in a series of posters that prompted visitors responses to the question, “What are you grateful for?” These posters were displayed in the exhibition. In addition, the Station North Tool Library provided a hula hoop-making workshop.


  • “CONGREGATE” partnered with FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture to host quilt-making workshops with congregation members at the Spiritual Empowerment Center as a way to provide community support for survivors of rape and abuse. FORCE and the Spiritual Empowerment Center are still working together.


•“CONGREGATE” and FORCE also hosted a picnic at Baltimore’s Penn Station to reveal the first 100 quilts for their Monument Project, allowing visitors to interact with the quilts, read survivor stories and join a community of support.


  • AKIMBO is an annual experimental site-specific dance festival in Station North. We partnered with AKIMBO and Nicole Martinell (The Founder of AKIMBO) to include three of the “CONGREGATE” participating congregations and the Studio Center galleries as sites for their pre-festival dance event. This brought new audiences to see the “CONGREGATE” exhibition and created new relationships between congregation leaders and dancers.


  • 7th Metro Church hosted a Sunday service in the gallery space.


On view September 6 - 25, 2013, this exhibition featured all of these artworks created by the artists in residence and youth in the Sheila & Richard Riggs and Leidy galleries at the MICA Studio Center. This show also featured photographic documentation detailing the relationships formed between artists and congregants and documentation of youth and congregants participating in programs.


A printed catalog featured documentation of all of the programs, artists, and installation shows of the final artworks in addition to guest essays by Leslie King-Hammond and Karen Di’Lossi, artist statements, and essays by the congregation leaders.


“CONGREGATE” aimed to help audiences investigate if there really is a disparity between contemporary artistic practices and communities of faith. “CONGREGATE” initiated dialogue, opened doorways, and created welcoming spaces, resulting in a more inclusive arts district. In this project, different communities with different ideologies, relationships, and practices had an opportunity to connect and develop a better understanding of one another. 


Learn more about the exhibition, it's programs and see more photos at www.congregatebaltimore.com. To read or download the exhibition catalog, click here.

New Second Missionary Baptist Church

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Tiffany Jones, An Ardent Vestige, 2013 

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St. Michael & All Angels


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Katherine Kavanaugh, Vast Space/Intimate Ritual, 2013

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Katherine Kavanaugh, Vast Space/Intimate Ritual, 2013

 
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Seventh Metro Church


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St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran


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Leo Hussey, Pattern Covered Hexagonal Prism Containing Color, 2013

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Leigh Davis, Quiet Service, 2013

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Spiritual Empowerment Center

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Laure Drogoul, Beyond, 2013

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Quilts made by participants in a workshop lead by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.

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What Are You Grateful For? Screenprints made by the participating youth in partnership with Baltimore Print Studios.

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The MFA Curatorial Practice class of 2014.


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