Saint Vincent College exhibits explore art, spirituality and stereotypes

Part of the mission of Verostko Center for the Arts at Saint Vincent College is to showcase work that exists at the intersection of art and spirituality, according to curator Andrew Julo.

Two new exhibits, “People of the Book & the Storyboard” and “The Hoods Series,” explore this connection in different ways.

Featuring contemporary Jewish graphic novels, “People of the Book & the Storyboard” brings together a dozen projects that visually tell stories from the Bible, rabbinical writings, the Passover Haggadah, and personal biographies – mostly hand-held narratives. first person of the Holocaust.

The works have been selected for their ability to reconcile tradition and innovation.

“This exhibit aims to celebrate the tremendous work being done on behalf of Jewish artists and authors who use innovative techniques to tell old or hard-to-discuss stories in a way that inspires us to reconsider,” Julo said. “In an academic context, it is important that our students come into contact with the myriad ways in which believers tell impactful stories.

“Last week’s attack on the Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and Tree of Life (in Pittsburgh) in 2018 are reminders that anti-Semitism is not a prejudice relegated to the distant past,” he said. he declares.

Visitors can view printed selections of each book and browse copies in a reading area within the gallery.

Fighting stereotypes

Tara Lamourt, a professional artist and longtime educator at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, NJ, created a series of portraits of her students for “The Hood Series.” The portraits are meant to combat harmful stereotyping and racial profiling that has led to the brutality and murder of young men of color.

Lamourt’s subjects wear a black hoodie, part of the uniform for the elderly at St. Benedict’s Prep that recalls the monastic habit worn by the Benedictines of Newark Abbey, who sponsor the school. Selected artifacts from the history of St. Benedict and Newark Abbey complement Lamourt’s work.

“At a time when racist stereotypes and classist characterizations have often resulted in violence and murder, Lamourt’s portraits are a crucial invitation to recognize young men of color as up-and-coming neighbors, rather than adversaries.” , said Julo. “Historically, black and brown teenagers have rarely been the subject of academic painting, and Lamourt’s ongoing series helps address this huge omission.

“Plus, I hope visitors will also enjoy St. Benedict’s Prep, which is truly a national leader in urban education,” he said.

Running the two exhibits at the same time was largely coincidental, Julo said, although both “celebrate the dedicated work of artists who have invested in their communities.”

Two virtual events will also complete the exhibition.

Art historian Samantha Baskind and artist JT Waldman will discuss “Stories of Purpose: The Legacy of Jews and Comics” at 6:30 p.m. on February 10. Nina Caputo, associate professor of history at the University of Florida, will discuss her book, “Debating Truth: A Graphic Novel on Medieval Catholic-Jewish Dialogue,” at 3 p.m. Feb. 23.

The exhibit and related programs are sponsored by Saint Vincent College, the Verostko Center, and Steel Tree, a fund of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.

Both exhibits will run through March 11 at the Center, second floor of the Dale P. Latimer Library on the Unity Campus. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 1 to 7 p.m. Thursdays.

For more information, to receive Zoom links to virtual programs, or to schedule an appointment outside of regular center hours, email [email protected] The center’s website is verostkocenter.org.

Visitors are required to wear masks indoors and follow social distancing protocols.

Shirley McMarlin is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Julia P. Cluff