For some time now, I have been contemplating the creation of a Mormon Arts Center in New York City. The Center’s goal would be to create a nurturing metropolitan home for Mormon artists and to foster a deeper and more inclusive understanding of their work.
The idea grows out of the belief that Mormon arts (visual arts, drama, film, music, dance, fiction, poetry) are resources to be cultivated for the good of our common enterprise—the formation of a diverse, rich, and elevating Mormon culture.
The Center would provide a site where Mormon art could be viewed, heard, criticized, and appreciated. Artists can convey Mormon culture to audiences who are oblivious to more conventional forms of communication. By situating Mormon arts in the contexts of other thought-systems and histories, the Center would be a bridge to Mormonism for people of diverse outlooks. No better place could be found for such a project than New York City, the art capital of the world.
As a tentative first step toward such a lofty, permanent entity, a committee led by Glen Nelson and myself has begun work on an ambitious, four-day Mormon Arts Center Festival to take place in the Summer of 2017 in New York City. We are encouraged by the enthusiastic response from Area and local Church authorities as well as Mormon artists and arts organizations. We hope others will find merit in this promising new venture and join us in bringing it to pass.