St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral is seeking submissions of visual art for its upcoming exhibition, De-Colonizing the Christ. This juried exhibit invites submissions of visual arts portraying Jesus of Nazareth as a man who is not European/White. Information about this exhibit and the application form can be found on this page.

The Christ: In Whose Image

Historically, images of the Christ are often enculturated, as different artists have portrayed Jesus as someone who bears their own cultural identity. As early as the third century CE, Syrian, Indian, and Ethiopian artists produced images of the Christ which evoked the context of the artist.

Since the middle ages, the image of a light-skinned European Christ has been influential in the world through the influences of trade and colonization. In an early modern colonial missionary context, the image of White Jesus reinforced a social system in which White Europeans occupied the upper tiers and indigenous people with darker skin ranked lower.

Recently, this has opened conversations among theologians and biblical scholars alike, exploring how we can decolonize the Christ – releasing Jesus from the legacy of White Supremacy.

Who We Are

We are a collaborative group of artists and community leaders, who want to support the development of more diverse images of Jesus.

What is this about?

This juried exhibit invites submissions of visual arts portraying Jesus of Nazareth as a man who is not European/White.

Why is this happening?

We want to give a voice to those who have been historically excluded from the exhibition of spiritual art. We want to exhibit images of Jesus that reflect historical reality and are culturally expansive.

When and where will this exhibit happen?

The Riverfront Gallery at the Cathedral Church of Saint Stephen (Episcopal) in Harrisburg PA is the site of this exhibit. After the conclusion of this exhibit, the art may be invited to be part of an exhibit traveling to Philadelphia.

The exhibit will run from September 10 through December 30, 2021.

What sort of art media and artists?

All two-dimensional media are welcome: Oil, acrylic, watercolor, encaustic art, mixed media, stained glass, prints
and graphic art, drawing, photography, and digital media.

We invite artists from all backgrounds and levels of experience. We particularly encourage artists from under-represented groups, especially emerging and outsider artists, to apply.

Awards

There will be three cash prizes, awarded by the jury.
• Best in Show $500
• People’s Choice $400
• Bishop’s Award $400

The Jury

Nathan Baxter
10th Bishop, Episcopal Diocese Central PA, retired

Ophelia Chambliss
Artist & Communication Specialist

Mack Granderson
Director, Minority Arts Program, Pennsylvania Council of the Arts

Carlos Graupera
Exec. Director, Spanish American Civic Association, Lancaster

Nancy Mendes
Artist, Teacher, Exhibit Designer

Rachel O’Connor
Curator, Art Association of Harrisburg

Application Process

Applications are due by June 1, 2021. Submissions are currently being accepted and will be acknowledged by email within a week of submission. The jury will convene in early July to select items for the exhibition. Artists will be notified by email by July 16 if their submission has been accepted.

Please complete the Application Form and review the Call for Submissions and Checklist for Submissions when submitting your work. If you have questions, please contact the church office.