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Artists display colorful insight of ‘outsider art’
Messiah College to host exhibit of self-taught religious art

Colorful painting of Noah's Ark

In December, Messiah College will present the art of self-taught religious artists like Myrtice West. Her work "Building Noah's Ark" is a colorful example of the Christian folk art that will be on display.

This winter, the M. Louise Aughinbaugh Gallery will present “Ordained to Create: The Self-Taught Art of Southern Preachers, Prophets, and Visionaries,” a unique show of American religious art from the Sage and Steven Pattie Collection of American Art.

The show is comprised of more than 40 works from 14 artists (like “Building Noah’s Ark,” by Myrtice West, left). Drawing inspiration from the Bible and their own spiritual experiences, each of these featured, self-taught artists, including Howard Finster, R. A. Miller, and W. C. Rice, portrays the Christian experience with a straightforward, folk-art flair. Many of the “Ordained to Create” artists took up painting or sculpting relatively late in life, and their art reflects the richness of life’s experience.

American religious folk art is quickly gaining a place on the national art scene, appearing at museums all across the country. Central PA magazine covered Messiah's showing of the "Ordained to Create" exhibit, encouraging visitors to come experience this "outsider art" for themselves. After its showing at Messiah College, "Ordained to Create" will continue its tour—the collection is slated to be on display in the fall of 2006 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.


The exhibit runs from December 2, 2005–February 16, 2006 in the Aughinbaugh Gallery, located in Climenhaga Fine Arts Center.

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