Bluefield University in the News


by | Apr 7, 2015

Two art shows are among the events featured in Bluefield College's month-long Celebration of Appalachia, including a mixed media Christian art exhibit featuring the works of visual artist Sandra Bowden, now through April 11, and a student art show featuring the works of Bluefield College students created during the spring semester, April 13-30.

Visual artist Sandra Bowden has been interpreting Scripture through mixed media for more than 40 years, and for the next three months she will present some of her interpretations at Bluefield College in an art exhibit titled “With Word and Song.”


On display January 12 through April 11 in BC’s Art Gallery on the first floor of Lansdell Hall, Bowden’s “With Word and Song” is open and free to the public. Exhibit hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Weekend hours may be obtained by calling the Bluefield College Art Department at 276-326-4558.


Considered to be one of the most unique, impressive and inspiring Christian artists in America, Bowden’s work fuses the vivid, yet traditional imagery of the Old Testament – stone tablets and artifacts, Hebrew inscriptions, architectural depictions – with images of Christ’s passion, important music scores, and God’s natural creations.


She has issued several series of artworks over the years: crucifixion scenes, artistic use of text and color, new interpretations of classic religious artwork, and even altered books with applied textures and hues. In each piece of her art, God’s grandeur and creativity shine through.


“My Christian faith has been the driving force behind my art,” said Bowden, whose works have been featured in books, magazines and gallery shows across the United States, Canada, Italy and Jerusalem. “I look at the making of a piece of art as a kind of doxology, a prayer or conversation with God. I don’t mean this in any mystical way, but my ideas come out of my theology and thoughts about God. I am somewhat of a theologian, but one who translates those interpretations into visual form.”


An artist intrigued by the mystery of the word as a vehicle of communication across generations, Bowden uses segments of language and text as design within her works. Her visual imagery is a provocative example of art centered both figuratively and literally in word. She views the musical score as a kind of language that transcends written languages and sees music as one of the most rich historical influences of the church in culture.


“With Word and Song” features several important pieces from her collection of art, including collagraphs, paintings, and collages that incorporate musical facsimiles. The exhibit also includes some of Bowden’s most beloved textural pieces, including many of her new form artist’s books that present text in a three dimensional format using an actual book as the painting surface.


The work in “With Word and Song” also traces Bowden’s interest and intrigue in words and songs, using elements from Biblical texts, ancient Hebrew, and musical facsimiles. She finds a source of mystery in the evolution of the word, visibly recorded and presented historically in a variety of ways.


The works of Bluefield College art students will be on display during a Spring Student Art Show on campus, April 13-30. Open and free to the public, the Spring Student Art Show will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays in the BC Art Gallery on the first floor of Lansdell Hall. Weekend hours may be obtained by calling the Art Department at 276-326-4558.


The exhibit will include art from students Joseph McClain, Dallas Burton, Josh Erby, Mike Tufaro, and others. The works displayed will come from the Figure Drawing class and the Painting I and II classes that were taught this semester at Bluefield College.


The art shows are two of many events in the college’s month-long Celebration of Appalachia. Designed to honor the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia with music, theatre, art, crafts, cuisine, literature and discourse, the Celebration of Appalachia includes the art shows, a writing contest, three book readings, a theatrical production, a daylong festival with bluegrass music, vendors, storytelling, free health screenings from sponsor Clinch Valley Medical Center, a bagpipe demonstration, four lectures, an historical tour, the debut of the school’s 2015 Bluestone Review, and a concert on the campus lawn. For more information about the April Celebration of Appalachia, visit, email [email protected], or call 276-326-4212.

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