ECVA Newsletter Special Issue

March, 2005


Celebrating Beginnings


ECVA New Jersey Inaugural Dinner and Exhibit
By Ruth Councell

  16 October 2004
  Paintings by Eileen Kennedy

On Thursday evening, September 16th, a new chapter of the Episcopal Church and Visual Arts was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in the Diocese of New Jersey. Eighty-two people artists and art supporters attended our inaugural dinner and exhibit. The evening began with a delightful reception. The entire crypt of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton was lined with the work of 38 artists from all over the Diocese.

There were paintings, etchings, Ikebana flower arrangements, pottery, photographs, vestments, and beadwork. Color was everywhere, found in everything from metal, clay, and wood to paper, canvas, and fabric. The room glowed with golden light, punctuated by the bright hues of art and the sounds of lively conversations. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres were served during the exhibit.

At 7pm, people made their way up the stairs to the parish hall for the dinner. The tables were set with white tablecloths, burgundy cloth napkins, and a centerpiece of dusky red chrysanthemums circled by white votive candles.


Krystyna Sanderson


Ruth Councell


Bishop George Councell offered grace, and a delicious meal of salmon, salad, rice, and green beans was served buffet-style. Kir Rodriguez of the French Culinary Institute created an array of fabulously delicious gourmet desserts.

Our speaker was Krystyna Sanderson, a free-lance fine art photographer who lives in New York and is the membership chair of the national ECVA. Her most recent book, Light at Ground Zero, is a collection of her photographs of St. Paul's, New York City, in the days after the World Trade Center disaster.


Athena Gassoumis


Her informative and inspiring talk about ECVA's mission and vision interested all. Athena Gassoumis, a photography artist from our diocese, then spoke very personally about her photographs and their place in her spiritual journey. The Reverend Phillip Carr-Jones, also from our diocese, talked movingly in a very different way about his welding work.

Then Ruth Councell, the Chair of Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts in New Jersey, shared her thoughts about how ECVA New Jersey might go forward. She mentioned artist gatherings, the hope for regional events in our vastly spread-out diocese, and the possibility of an exhibit at next year's Diocesan Convention on the theme of New Life. She announced that ECVA New Jersey's own website is now under construction, courtesy of designer Cynthia McFarland.

Our inaugural event was en evening where connections were made and friendships sparked. A spirit of joy and enthusiasm prevailed. All are looking forward to an enlivening of the arts in the Diocese of New Jersey.


Suzanne Schleck

There was a golden glow about the room punctuated by the bright colors of art and people. . . . It was something very memorable and beautiful, a wonderful enthusiastic spirit prevailed, and a good beginning was made.

  Photos by Dot Cellini  

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New Jersey Chapter

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  About ECVA      
The mission of The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts (ECVA) is to encourage artists, individuals, congregations, and scholars to engage the visual arts in the spiritual life of the church. ECVA values the significance of visual imagery in spiritual formation and the development of faith, and creates programs to support those who are engaged in using the visual arts in spiritual life.

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