Skip to main content


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 27-May 10).

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


Singer-songwriter, Mary Gauthier

February 27th, 2018 - 4-5 PM - Room G-20

We are happy to offer this special session with acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier.  Gauthier will discuss her latest collection of songs, Rifles and Rosary Beads and her songs such as “Mercy Now,” which, like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” has become embraced popularly as a secular hymn.  Free and open to the public.


 “To be affected by these songs, you don’t have to know anything of Gauthier’s backstory (Louisiana orphan addict chef turned sober troubadour), the respect she commands across gender lines in the Americana scene, or the heavyweight catalog she’s built out of unflinching introspection and Southern Gothic-shaded storytelling.”   NPR Music

 “…Louisiana-raised Mary Gauthier has become one of Americana music’s most admired artists—across the U.S. and around the world.”   Wall Street Journal

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.  

 In My Lifetime

“Lock my body, can’t trap my mind.” -Jay-Z   

Mental and spiritual liberation in the face of physical limitations are themes woven into all of my work.

Social justice, family, and the cerebration of culture through music are threads that come together to make the body of work that you see today.

I am a Nashville native. I attended Montgomery Bell Academy and went on to play basketball at Belmont University. After a break from school I graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Graphic Design. My passion was studio art and that became my focus. Influenced by my mentor, instructor, and friend Samuel Dunson, as well as James Threalkill, Michael McBride, and a tremendous Nashville Art community I have continued to create work daily.

The pieces displayed explore my experiences and were created between 2014 and 2017. - Omari Booker


"Ritual's Musicality: Music as Innate to Bodies at Worship" by Dr. Bruce T. Morrill, S.J.

Bruce January 18, 2018 - Noon to 1PM - Room G-20 (Divinity ground floor)

Whereas people widely recognize from experience that music enlivens Christian liturgy and other types of corporate worship, explaining and exploiting scientifically and theologically why that is the case has proven a difficult—but increasingly rewarding—challenge. This lecture will review key findings on the bodily effects (as opposed to simply attending to the texts and language) of ritual song, as well as silence, as these prove constitutive of the shared human action of divine worship.

Ritual's Musicality



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

Read ‘Invictus’ art exhibition inspired by Vanderbilt student’s African American studies


Hunted Slaves

February 2 - February 24, 2017

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

        and by appointment (

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)




In The News


Images from the VDS Fall Semester's Coffee House

Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture | October 8, 2015

coffee house    coffee house   coffee house

coffee house   coffee house


Gallery Talk with Samuel L. Dunson, Jr. : Creating "Meet The Fergusons"


Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture | Sep. 23, 2015



‘Meet the Fergusons’ spotlights work of Nashville artist

Vanderbilt News | Author: Ann Marie Deer Owens | Sep. 9, 2015

meet the fergusons  meet the fergusons

meet the fergusons   meet the fergusons

meet the fergusons     meet the fergusons