Carl Schmitt Foundation’s inaugural symposium a success

Defining the Role of the Catholic Artist Today

On October 27th the Carl Schmitt Foundation hosted its inaugural Symposium in Sterling, Virginia. Organized jointly by CSF Creative Director Andrew de Sa and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, the event drew nearly 200 people, some driving as far as four hours to attend with others tuning into the livestream on the Foundation’s website.

“Defining the Role of the Catholic Artist Today” brought together five of today’s leading Catholic artists to discuss their own work as well as their understanding of the vocation of a Catholic artist today.

Andrew Wilson Smith brings over a decade of experience teaching and executing fine art projects for churches and institutions, and is the founding director of Four Crowns Atelier.

Henry Wingate is an oil painter who studied in the Boston School tradition of painting. He paints portraits primarily, but also figurative works, landscapes, and still lifes.

Dr. Timothy McDonnell is Director of Choral Studies and Head of the Institute of Sacred Music at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and a distinguished composer and choral conductor.

James Langley is an artist and professor of life drawing, and portraiture at Savannah College of Art and Design.  He paints by commission from his studio in Savannah, Georgia.

Will Seath is a designer with McCrery Architects of Washington, DC, who specializes in liturgical architecture.

The symposium was accompanied by an impressive exhibit of Carl Schmitt’s paintings, pastels, and drawings as well notebooks, writings, and objects from the artist’s studio.

Each artist offered a presentation of his work, ranging from an original choral composition to a recently erected cathedral and hand-carved archways for a Gothic-style monastery.  Through these presentations the audience was given a glimpse not only of the artists’ expertise but also their approach to living out their vocation as artists.  The exquisite works underlined their service to the Church and the importance of the Fine Arts.

A particularly moving moment came when renowned oil painter James Langley described his meeting with Carl Schmitt and the pivotal role the encounter had on his career.

Soren Johnson, Associate Director in the Office of Catechetics for the Diocese of Arlington, described the event as “the best interaction between the Faith and the Arts I have ever seen.”  Carl Schmitt, Jr., founder of the CSF and a son of the artist, was particularly moved, saying, “We heard from five different artists with five different backgrounds and mediums, but in each of the artists I saw a portrait of my Father.”

With the success of the inaugural Symposium, the Carl Schmitt Foundation is looking to expand the event in 2019.  Your support of the CSF is vital to offering opportunities like this for an encounter with the Fine Arts.  Such encounters, Schmitt believed, “serve to recall us to the fact that mystical religion is the vital force most deeply embedded in man from which springs all his most notable activity.”

Thank you for all your support during this exciting time for the Foundation!

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts / Department of Economic & Community Development.

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