By Beth Byrd, Staff Writer
The “KJV400: Legacy and Impact” art display during the recent celebration not only commemorated the history of the King James Bible but also presented social issues stemming from the history of this text.
The Carl Grant Events Center at Union showcased the artwork from Sept. 15-17, with each faculty member of the art department display.
“The King James is a pivotal document that has shaped our faith as Christians. It was interesting as artists and Christians to make work about the history and impact of such an important document,” said Melinda Posey, assistant professor of art.
The art faculty went beyond simply designing displays correlating with the festival. They also presented social issues revolving around the history of the King James Bible in their artwork.
Chris Nadaskay, professor of art, designed a modern-day sculpture of the Rosetta Stone that showed the impact society will have on the future, reflecting the influence of what he believed the King James Bible has had on our society today. Nadaskay said he wanted “to call attention to how culture influences us and what legacy we’re leaving behind.”
Dr. Steve Halla, assistant professor of art, also wove a deeper meaning in his display of woodcuts. As an artist, he said he is “deeply interested in issues involving the human condition and the spiritual life.”
Posey said professors had been designing these projects since the spring of last year. Despite the extended time period, faculty found creating the artwork challenging.
“Normally, you do art in the genre you’re familiar with. This created a set of parameters that by nature narrowed the focus,” Nadaskay said.
Posey estimated that Lee Benson, professor of art and department chair, crocheted for around 150 hours for his piece. Haelim Allen, assistant professor of art, taught herself how to embroider for her display, while Nadaskay invested hours in research for his design. Despite their struggle, professors felt the experience was worthwhile.
The viewers of the art display noticed the efforts invested by the professors.
“I thought it was very impressive,” said Jake Fain, senior art major with a graphic design emphasis. “It was very interesting to see the different mediums combined together.”
Overall, the professors wanted to challenge viewers to think on a deeper level.
Halla summarized the department’s focus, saying, “My hope is that the art display would help stimulate peoples’ thinking about the KJV in new and creative ways and, as a result, deepen their understanding and appreciation of it.”