Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art



Steve Christensen

Third Annual Exhibition of the James and Emilia Govan Créche Collection at LUMA

CHICAGO, November 22, 2010 - This December, a Chicago holiday tradition continues at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) with Art and Faith of the Créche. The exhibition, which is made possible by a major gift from the James and Emilia Govan Créche Collection, begins Saturday, December 4, and runs through Sunday, January 16, 2011.

The James and Emilia Govan Créche Collection, assembled over a 30-year period, comprises more than 500 Nativity scenes from around the world. The collection includes créches from more than 100 countries and cultures, including works by Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Taoist artists. This year, the exhibition will include beloved créches from past years as well as more than 50 créches that have not yet been on view at LUMA.

"This exhibition is one that we all look forward to each year and with a collection of more than 500 créches and Nativities to draw from, each year is a different presentation," said Pamela Ambrose, Loyola's director of cultural affairs. "How the créches came into the Govan Collection is fascinating—the Govans established a network of friends around the world who were on the lookout for that special artisan. As an example of ecumenism in the collection, the Malawi créche was made by a Muslim artisan who was trained under the auspices of a Catholic cultural center and was then acquired by a Jewish friend who gave it to the Govans. Each of the créches has a personal recollection and special story."

The exhibition demonstrates how both western and non-western cultures interpret the Nativity through the inclusion of local architecture, clothing, animals, and materials. The range of expressions is diverse—from Haitian metal figures to delicately modeled baroque sculptures of Italy to the Asian dress of Thailand.

James Govan, who worked in economic development for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his late wife, Emilia, traveled extensively building their collection. Today, Mr. Govan continues to collect créches and seeks out rare examples from countries not yet represented in the collection. He has also written a book based on the collection, Art of the Créche, which is available in the museum gift shop.


 Public Programs:

Opening Reception for Art and Faith of the Créche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan
Friday, December 3, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
LUMA Members and Loyola Faculty, Staff, and Students: Free/Non-Members: $15

Please RSVP for by sending an e-mail to luma@luc.edu or calling 312.915.7608.

Meet the Collector
December 4 at 11:15 a.m.
LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue

James Govan began collecting créches with his late wife, Emilia, in the 1970s. To date, they have amassed more than 500 créches from over 100 countries and cultures. Stop in and enjoy this informal tour with Mr. Govan as he discusses his favorite pieces and the stories behind them. The event is free with museum admission and is open to the public.

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!