Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art



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Evangeline Politis
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LUMA Celebrates a Decade of Art and Faith of the Crèche

New Exhibition Exploring the Craftsmanship Behind the Nativity Scenes to Complement this Annual Holiday Tradition

CHICAGO, November 14, 2017 – Celebrating its 10th year as a Magnificent Mile holiday tradition, Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan returns to the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). New this year, the collection of more than 100 worldly works will be supplemented by The Craft of the Crèche: Materials and Techniques, an exhibition that explores the unique materials and creative techniques used to make the works on display. Both exhibitions will be on view from Tuesday, November 14, 2017, through Sunday, January 7, 2018.   

Art and Faith of the Crèche

Each year LUMA showcases a selection of crèches curated from a collection of more than 550 works created by artists from 126 countries. Donated to the museum by collectors James and Emilia Govan, the crèches illustrate the myriad ways artists across the globe depict the Nativity. Beginning with a simple Sicilian crèche that reflected Emilia’s heritage, the collection grew quickly as the Govans began commissioning artisans to create crèches that reflected their homeland through native flora, fauna, costumes, and architecture.

“It is my family's privilege to share our collection with the Loyola community and the people of Chicago,” said James Govan. “The collection portrays the birth of Christ as seen by peoples all over the world—many portrayed in the form of their own culture. Depicting the birth of the Christ Child brings much of humanity together to share a profound belief in the future.”

LUMA’s 2017 Crèche of the Year features the whimsical woodcarving of award-winning folk artist Boleslaw Parasion, evoking the culture of his Polish homeland. In this celebratory scene, a trio of graceful angels serenade the Holy Family with a mandolin, a string bass, and a trumpet. Parasion, renowned for his vividly colorful depictions of holy stories, carves his scenes in linden wood, commonly used for altarpieces and icon painting. 

The Craft of the Crèche: Materials and Techniques

This selection of LUMA’s beloved small-scale crèches explores various materials and techniques utilized to illustrate the figures, themes, and joy of the Nativity. Materials range from common mediums such as wood and clay, expanding to unexpected objects, including corn husks, handcrafted nails, coconuts, and even an ostrich egg. This unique assortment of crèches highlights the heritage and skills of each artisan.

For more information on these exhibitions, visit LUC.edu/luma. Friends of the museum are also invited to sponsor a crèche and celebrate their heritage or that of a loved one. Crèche sponsorships help LUMA to care for this special collection and display this festive exhibition every holiday season. Details can be found here.

Public Programming

The following events take place at LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue. Visit LUC.edu/luma for the full schedule.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 

Saturday, November 18, 2-6 p.m., Free to the public

Stop by LUMA to warm up before the parade! Enjoy hot chocolate, free admission, and 15 percent off Museum Shop purchases.  

Opening Reception

Friday, December 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Free to the public

Join LUMA members and staff to celebrate the opening of Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the exhibition, the reception is free to the public. 

Christmas in Oaxaca

Saturday, December 2, 1-3 p.m., Free with admission

Celebrate the holiday Oaxaca style! Artist Carlos Orozco will share his favorite holiday traditions from his native Oaxaca. Join us for a short lecture, treats, and a wood-carving demonstration from Carlos Orozco. 

The Craft of the Crèche Nativity Workshop 

Saturday, December 16, 1-3 p.m., Free with admission

Inspired by the unique materials and techniques on display in The Craft of the Crèche, this workshop provides attendees with the opportunity to create their own miniature Nativity scene out of recycled materials. A variety of projects will be offered for every age and skill level.

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!