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Events This Semester

Alicia Henry: Partterns


Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture and the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies present: Alicia Henry: Patterns  

Opening Reception:  January 31 – March 14, 2019

Thursday, January 31, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 pm, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Room 120

Gallery Talk with Alicia Henry, Artist: Monday, February 11, 2019, 12:00 noon

Vanderbilt Divinity School, Room 120

Spiritual Meditation with Phillis Sheppard, Ph.D.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 12:00 noon, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Room 120

Commemorating Black History Month, an exhibit of mixed-media works by artist and Fisk University professor Alicia Henry.  "Patterns" will be on display in room G-20, ground floor of the Divinity School beginning with a reception on Thursday, January 31st from 4-7 PM.  The exhibit will remain at the Divinity School through March 14, 2019. 

The artist's statement

A common recurring image in my work is the human figure-the figure in isolation and the figure interacting with others. My work often explores these ideas through the theme of the paper doll and paper cutouts. I am exploring the social relationship these images have had in shaping the stereotypical and idealized figures in the media by depicting generalized figures representing what I hope is a broader vision of society (racial, gender, economic, and social levels), my goal is to make visible that which still often goes unseen.



Graph of Desire


G raph of Desire: A retrospective exhibition of paintings by Mira Gerard


September 27-November 12, 2018

Gallery Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday from 12:15 to 2:15PM

Opening Reception: September 27, 4-7PM

Vanderbilt Divinity School G-20 (Arts Room)

Artist's Statement

I make paintings of the figure as a way to understand desire, which functions in my work in part as a fantasy about being both subject and maker. For several years when I was growing up, my family lived in a small intentional community in rural New Hampshire with no TVs and with limited access to experiences of mainstream American culture in the 70's. I became fascinated with fairies and fairy tales, along with the meadows, stone walls and woods around me. During that time, I was a frequent subject of my father's paintings- usually depicted playing in fields of flowers in sun-drenched afternoon landscapes.  

Ten years ago I quite literally stumbled into Lacanian psychoanalysis. It's a practice of speaking freely and in a very nonlinear way, which parallels studio processes of sorting through fragments, pieces of images and ideas, to make something new that remembers (re-members).  I create staged photographs and videos and supplement those with screenshots, art historical references, and collage. I am specifically interested in figures or elements in landscapes and spaces, and in the implication of a kind of storyboard, a before-to-after. Because the process of painting itself feels necessarily perfomative and vulnerable, I try to communicate this through both content and approach. I have embraced traditional, old master forms of construction, with a method in place for the breakdown of those processes to occur, so that the paintings themselves are like landscapes and bodies- a physical manifestation of interruptions, scars, layers, and time. 

Mira Gerard’s creative practice spans painting, performance, and video. She received her BFA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and her MFA from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  Her work has been exhibited at a wide range of venues.  Her work was selected for  New American Paintings #118  (Southeast Edition, 2015) and has been published in journals including Poets & Artists, The Cortland Review, and Manifest Painting International.  She has presented papers and performance & video works on the intersection of art and psychoanalysis at conferences including the International Zizek Studies Conference, LACK, Psychology and the Other, and the Southeastern College Art Conference.  She has been awarded fellowships for residencies at Ox-Bow School of Art, Cill Rialaig Project, The Hambidge Center, The Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Mira Gerard is Chair and Professor in the Department of Art & Design at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee where she has lived since 2001. 

Desire: An Evening of Musical Reflection

Thursday, April 5, 2018 | 6:00 p.m.
Vanderbilt Divinity School G-20 (Arts Room)

Luther Young

While pursuing his Master of Divinity degree, Luther Young has undertaken research at the intersection of race, sexuality, and theology. An extension of the M.Div. Senior Project entitled "Pimps and Sissies: Gay Men, the Black Church, and Liberation Theology," Desire uses song and narration to illustrate how gay black men of faith maintain their relationship with God, either within or without the Black Church. Luther along with members of the community will perform musical selections to guide reflections about the experiences of gay black men in religious contexts. Desire will be held Thursday, April 5th in the Divinity School Arts Room at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Eikon: A Triple Encounter

Gallery Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12 - 2 PM (Room G-20)


Lecture: The Canopy and the Byzantine Church

April 14, 2018 • 3:00 p.m. Divinity School Room G-23

Dr. Jelena Bogdanovic, MA’02
Associate Professor, Iowa State University
Lecture followed by a gallery showing for the exhibit, Eikon: A Triple Encounter (on display March 23-April 20).
Sponsored by: Vanderbilt Divinity School’s Program in Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture, Department of History of Art, Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies, Department of Religious Studies, and the Department of History.
This event is free and Open to the Public.
The Canopy and the Byzantine Church



In My Lifetime: An African American Perspective

February 1 - 28, 2018

In observation of Black History Month, Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture is pleased to partner with the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies to present an exhibition of paintings and mixed-media works from Nashville artist Omari Booker.  Gallery hours and artist's statement to be announced shortly.

In My Lifetime


Past Events

March 16 - April 28, 2017



Triptych offers an invitation to encounter narratives of identity, as expressed by six artists. The show will feature works by: Chip Boles, Louisa Glenn, Terry Lynn, Ndume Olatushani, Steve Stone Jr., Brian Wooden.

Opening Reception: 
Thursday, March 16 (3-7pm), Vanderbilt Divinity School, G-20, ground floor 

Weekly Gallery Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Noon to 2PM - Room G-20 (ground floor Divinity) 
and by appointment (

Please note that the gallery will be closed Friday, April 14th in observance of Good Friday.



February 2 - February 24, 2017

Invictus: 20 works Celebrating African Americans' Pursuit of Freedom and Will to Survive

Hunted Slaves

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2017; 3-7PM - Room G-20 (ground floor Divinity)

Closing Reception: February 22, 2017; Noon - 2PM - Black Cultural Center (Vanderbilt campus)

Invictus: A Meditative Reflection,  February 24, 2017; 5-7 PM - Room G-20 (ground floor Divinity)  with Phillis Sheppard, Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture & Calvin Settles, Jazz Pianist  

Weekly Gallery Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Noon to 2PM - Room G-20 (ground floor Divinity) 
and by appointment (