11th Annual International Art Competition

One of my favorite art exhibitions is the International Art Competition run by the Church and exhibited at the Church History Museum. Run every three years, it’s a great opportunity to see some of the artistic talent of church members from around the world. This year, 151 works of art from over two dozen countries are on display, with the theme “Meditations on Belief”, taken from Psalm 77: “I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

The results are impressive, showing a tremendous breadth of perspectives. I spoke with Laura Allred Hurtado, the global acquisitions curator, who said that it was interesting to see both the variety of responses and chosen media, but also to see common threads emerging in the entrants: themes of temple and scripture, of facing the divine in nature, of the personal touch of Jesus Christ. Personally, I find these international competitions interesting in part because of the prospect of unity in a diverse kaleidoscope of views.

A total of 947 submissions were received, and 250 from that group went to the international jury. The church has purchased 15 pieces, and there is an interactive kiosk in the exhibit that lets people vote for their favorite, which will receive a visitor’s choice award. I thought the exhibition was organized thoughtfully, grouped into sub-themes of Adam and Eve, charity and love, temples, and others. I did not expect the number of mixed media pieces, sculptures and other works that show textures of mormonism that we don’t normally see. One work, a pioneer dress made from the Doctrine and Covenants, stood out particularly as a wonderful intersection of ideas, faith, and culture. The summary and tour by the Zion Art Society is also definitely worth listening to.

It’s a terrific display. Those who can’t make it to the museum can look at the exhibit online here. I believe it is worth celebrating and sustaining these artistic efforts throughout the church. In some ways, I find it to be as unifying and fulfilling in my faith as a General Conference; we learn about each other and ourselves through these competitions.

The display runs through October 7, 2019.


  1. imagineinspireinquire says:

    Thank you for the information. I have been to this exhibition in the past and found it outstanding. I’ll be excited to go when I’m in UT this summer.

  2. I would have never known about this site without your recommendation Steve. I studied the submissions using your link. It was a wonderful experience. Is there a way to find out which pieces the church purchased?

  3. Stephen Evans says:

    Amy, I don’t know. I asked directly when I was there and found out about a few pieces, but I don’t think that information is otherwise public.

  4. If you bring up the online exhibit and hover over the art (on a desktop browser, at least) it will give the name of the artwork, the name of the artist(s), and whether a piece is a merit or purchase award.

    The online exhibit allows downloads of the art, and for the past few years I’ve been using pictures from the last exhibit for a screensaver and once for a stake conference program (with a note about the artists and source). Just downloaded a bunch from the new exhibit for the screensaver on the main computer in the center of our home. It’s been an easy way to share images of faith and devotion, and at the same time it’s amazing art. Some favorites from the new exhibit: Abraham and the Stars (Benjamin Pack), Meditations on Glory (David Erick Merrell), Male and Female (Richard Lasisi Olagunju), Roots (Jillian Damstedt Shaw) … and I shouldn’t start naming pieces because there’re all rather amazing.

  5. Purchase award winners were:
    Paige Crosland Anderson
    Linnie Brown
    Elizabeth Coughanour
    Rose Datoc Dall
    Lisa DeLong
    Danielle Hatch
    Hi Fai Wong
    Jacqui Larsen
    Jason Metcalf
    Richard Lasisi Olagunju
    Adam Lee Sherwood
    Susana Isabel Silva
    Leroy Transfield
    Sarah Ann Winegar
    Julie Yuen Yim

    Merit award winners were:
    Alisha Marie Anderson
    Chu Chu
    Kazuko Covington
    Susan McBride Gilgen and Cheryl Ann Styler
    Anne Mecham Gregerson
    Natalie Hunsaker
    Courtney Vander Veur Matz
    David Erick Merrell
    Andy Romero
    Ken Spencer

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for this notice, Steve. I’ve always really enjoyed and appreciated the international art competitions, we get some pretty adventurous stuff this way.

  7. J. Stapley says:

    Thanks Steve. This is wonderful.

  8. Peter Vousden says:

    An extraordinary collection. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Thank you for the added information. It has been a delight to study in greater detail the submissions on this Sabbath Day. I appreciate the list of winners whose art was purchased by the church. I especially enjoyed “The Children Sing” by Jacqui Larsen. I can see now her work was purchased by the church.

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