Of Good Report and Praiseworthy

An inclusive group of women and artists are working to create “Meetinghouse Mosaic.” Their goal is to fill LDS meetinghouses with art that is more accurate in representing the historical Jesus and will allow diverse Saints to more fully identify with representations of Him. They are sponsoring a gallery show at Writ and Vision next year. The call for submissions is below, but be sure to check out all the other virtuous and lovely things they are doing at https://meetinghousemosaic.com/

Call for Entry: Diverse depictions of Jesus, with an emphasis on cultural expression and/or historical accuracy. Jurors will not accept white depictions of Christ for this show. The goal of this show is to broaden the vision of how Christ, the Savior of the world, can be depicted and spotlight the religious artworks of people of color. 

Jurors: Rose Datoc Dall, Melissa Tshikamba Boggs, and Esther Hi’ilani Candari

Mediums: Pieces must be new (created no earlier than 2020), original pieces of art.  Mediums that will be accepted are painting, printmaking, drawing, mixed media work, photography, digital illustration, or small sculptures, installations, and assemblages. Installation and assemblage pieces will be considered on a case by case basis. Contact Esther at esther@writandvision.com with questions. Performance art, large sculpture, new media, and audio or video pieces will not be accepted due to exhibit objectives and space constraints. Two dimensional work should preferably be a maximum of 36 inches wide. Pieces larger than 36” will be considered on a case by case basis due to space constraints. Sculptures can be no more than 18 inches wide or deep and 20 inches tall. 

Work, and images used to create work, must be free of any copyright infringement and must be created by or properly licensed by the artist. 

Images created using stills from film productions such as The Bible videos or The Chosen series, even if licensed, will not be accepted.  

Compensation: All work that is shown must be for sale. The commission rate for the gallery, Writ & Vision, is a sliding scale of 35/65 for pieces $200 and below 40/60 for pieces $201-$2999 and 50/50 for pieces $3000 and above. International entries welcome. Scholarships or financial aid up to $300 per artist will be available for international shipping to and from the show. A need based scholarship of $100 dollars for domestic shipping is also available.  Selection of work is at the discretion of the jury and Writ and Vision Gallery. We reserve the right to reject any pieces submitted for this show. 


-$500 “My Jesus Project Scholarship”

– ARTBook Feature Award by Esther H. Candari

– solo show awarded by Writ and Vision

– artist residency awarded by Writ and Vision

Pieces shown elsewhere: We would like to encourage artists to make new work, or submit previously unexhibited work for this show. If a piece has been shown previously please note the dates and location on the form.

Key Dates

Call for submissions open:
International:   November 2022 – July 5th, 2023
US:  November 2022 – September 1st, 2023

Artists will be notified: no later than September 30th, 2023 if pieces have been accepted
Accepted pieces must be received by gallery:  January 5th, 2024
Artwork received after this date will not be included in the show.
Artwork must be ready to hang including d-rings and wire. Gallery staff will contact artists directly to make arrangements for 3-D work.

Gallery show: Feb 2nd, 2024 – Feb 27th, 2024
Artist round tables and other educational events hosted at the gallery in conjunction with the exhibit will be announced as they are scheduled. 

Further guidelines and the link for submissions are available here.


  1. Antonio Parr says:


    Historically, what shade of “white” is too white? Historically, what shade of “brown” is brown enough? Historically, when is “tan” too tan?

    This may be a well-intentioned project, but it comes across as overly simplistic and needlessly divisive. (But count me in in wanting see greater overall racial diversity in the Church’s artwork.)

  2. I support the basic goal of increasing diversity of our artwork, both in terms of artists and depictions, and so I was excited to learn about this project. But the website seems like it is designed to persuade university DEI departments and cultural studies professors (e.g. use of the term BIPOC)—not gain support from members of the Church.

    The discussion of the “whiteness” of Jesus is anachronistic. There were no “whites” in Roman-era Palestine. There were several national and ethnic groups living together, but the people of that time were not obsessed with skin color the way we are today. The discussion unnecessarily injects race, a modern and ill-defined concept, into historical and spiritual discussions.

    Accurately defining Jesus as a “person of color” depends so much on definitions of terms. Using definitions from the United States Census, Jesus would be classified as white (“A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.). But He could also be a “person of color” if defined as a member of an ethnic group that is marginalized or oppressed within the broader cultural context. Or He could be either if we define “white” or “person of color” based on some line arbitrarily drawn on the Fitzpatrick scale.

    The issue is further complicated by the fact that we don’t actually know the average skin tone of Jews in Roman-era Palestine. Skeletal analysis shows similarity to modern Iraqi Jews, but that’s not conclusive as skin tone can evolve and change over time separately from other characteristics. We can say with relatively high confidence that Jesus was somewhere between a II and a V on the Fitzpatrick scale, which doesn’t resolve much.

    Personally, I’d rather see a truly diverse set of representations in Church hallways, where artists from a variety of cultures depict the Savior and other scriptural stories based on their own cultural influences. That may mean depicting Jesus with historically inaccurate East Asian, Native American, African, or Polynesian features in ahistorical settings. That seems to be a part of what this project is about, but large portions of the website distract from that goal.

  3. I love this project. Is there a way to actually get these in meetinghouses (I seem to recall some strange rule that correlated all of the permitted art in churches)?

    Also to the other comments – the stated purpose isn’t to show the historically accurate color of Jesus. It’s to provide a variety of images that diverse people can relate to. As a woman, depictions of women in divinity have been deeply meaningful to me – and totally missing from LDS art until recently.

    If you don’t like the project, by all means, don’t attend the show. But I will be there!

  4. Children are a genetic combination of their mother and their father. This is most commonly represented through phenotypes such as skin color, eye color, hair color, height, build, and other facial features. Sometimes the resemblances are strong, other times not so. But racial features (phenotypical) and markers are pretty consistent.

    It gets interesting with mixed-race children. The combinations can be unpredictable and quite variable. But often certain traits are dominant. Obama is considered Black even though his mom was white.

    Let’s think about Jesus. Christians and Mormons believe in the virgin divine conception story. Let’s assume for sake of argument that is true. So, do they think Jesus had one genetic parent or two? Was he 100% mortal from Mary, and thus 100% genetic from Mary and God’s contribution was only “spiritual”? Or did God the Father contribute any genetic material? Aside from Brigham Young teaching that Elohim actually had sex with Mary (never canonized), how do you opine on Jesus’ genetics? What race is Elohim?

    I get people rejecting the “white Jesus” artwork in favor of Mediterranean, Hebrew, Palestinian, “Jew” appearing Jesus. But was Jesus biracial? Do you dare claim any race or ethnicity to Elohim?

    Is Jesus really a combo of celestial white and terrestrial brown?

    I honestly think the argument is silly.

  5. Thank you for this project. It’s well past time for more diversity in Mormon art. Hopefully it will help curb the ‘benevolent racism’ we can observe in these comments.

  6. My life has been enriched by historical Jesus studies, but most of the church community I know is not interested and prefers the religious or priestly Jesus stories. It seems to me that acknowledging myth over history in our common practice should give us lots of space for symbolism, for multiple interpretations, for what this means to me kinds of discussions and representations. And put something of a period to debates about actual skin color in the first century of the common era.

    Also, I’m a huge fan of this project, albeit skeptical about getting new art into old buildings.

  7. Elisa, the website makes numerous references to “accurate” or “correct” representations of Jesus:

    From the “Who We Are” page
    -Christ historically had brown skin…
    -We invite all who visit this site to please read the history of how Christ came to be represented as white in artwork and why it’s important to have Him represented correctly.
    -The more we can flood our circles of influence with images of Christ portrayed correctly with dark skin and ethnic features, the more it will be accepted and we will see Him as He really is.

    From “What Does Christ Look Like and How Did He Come to be Represented as White?”
    -We should not only restore the Savior’s image correctly as a person of color, but also show Him saving all people of all colors.

    From the “Commissioned Painting” page
    -We have commissioned a painting from Melissa Tshikamba of a historically accurate, resurrected Christ.

    From the “Meetinghouse” page
    -Keep in mind the importance of requesting that the Savior Himself be represented accurately as a person of color.
    -Please encourage people you know to also make suggestions that are accurately representing the Savior as He is. We want to normalize seeing Him and hearing Him and representing Him in power and glory as a person of color.

  8. A “historically accurate resurrected Christ?” How would one know what a historically accurate resurrected person looked like? It must be something, because Jesus’ friends and associates had a hard time identifying Jesus as Jesus after he was resurrected. Mary had a hard time and the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus didn’t realize who they were having a discussion with him until some miraculous goings on occurred.

  9. Thanks for highlighting this, Kristine! The pushback here underscores the need for something like this.

    Honestly, I’m not personally interested in accuracy. But the church has a rhetorical commitment to it; that rhetorical commitment notwithstanding, we at least theoretically know that Jesus wasn’t Scandanavian.

    (And Dsc, I’m not entirely clear why you think “university DEI department” is your bogeyman, but I can guarantee you that no university DEI organization cares in the least what artwork displayed in churches looks like.)

  10. Sam, the reference to a university DEI department was only to point out that the language used on the website is the kind that you see in certain advocacy and academic circles—not the way most people think or talk. I don’t think I said anything that remotely suggested that a literal DEI department somewhere cares about church art.

  11. Almost anything would be more historically accurate than the white European Jesus in most LDS art. I don’t think anyone is claiming precise knowledge, which isn’t necessary to the project of dislodging some of our inaccurate and harmful traditions.

  12. Dsc, who do you mean by “most people”? The website content isn’t (as far as I know) written by academics, so clearly some people outside the academy do think and speak this way.

  13. See the depiction of Jesus in the February 2023 issue of For the Strength of Youth magazine (“Who Were Jesus Christ’s Early Apostles?”). Change is already afoot.

  14. @Blind Sublimity: Jesus’ contemporaries assumed he was the son of his Palestinian Jewish parents (Matthew 13:55; Luke 4:22). So regardless of how he was conceived, his appearance was that of a typical first-century Jewish man from Nazareth.

  15. I love this idea. We’re getting more depictions of Jesus where he looks Middle Eastern. But there are a couple of specific things that I’m looking for in artwork that I still haven’t found yet:

    1) Short, curly hair. From the reading I’ve done, the oldest artwork shows him with short hair – I’m kind of past the whole Prince Valiant/surfer dude look (And no cheating by making his shawl drape over his head like long hair).

    2) He looks average instead of handsome. This seems to be the hardest thing for artists to move away from. The Son of God doesn’t need a chiseled jaw or amazing cheekbones. He just needs to look kind.

  16. I think this is great. I am a bishop and will share with some of my YW who are very talented artists. Thanks for posting.

  17. ideasnstuff says:

    There is now artwork approved for use in our temples in which Jesus looks quite Middle Eastern. At least, I see these paintings in the Provo Temple once a week. Perhaps in time they will make their way into our chapels.

  18. Margot, Sunday at church a 6 year old boy asked if I was Jesus (embarrassing his father). I hope it was because I look kind, instead of just an aging hippie with a beard and long hair. I told him I was one of Jesus’s friends, hoping that was also the case.


  1. […] A gallery showcasing new artwork of Jesus is planned for a year from now, in February 2024, at Provo’s Writ & Vision, according to a By Common Consent blog. […]

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