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Engaging Lived Religion in the 21st Century Museum

A three-year project (2021–2023) funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative, Engaging Lived Religion expands the Fowler’s ongoing study of religious and spiritual traditions in Los Angeles and around the world. This effort furthers our decades-long, multidisciplinary exploration of the artistic dimensions of religion and spirituality as well as the lived experiences of belief, while addressing the need to increase community participation in the museum’s exhibitions, public programs, and digital initiatives.

Working with represented communities as advisors, the project team is launching a series of temporary exhibitions highlighting religious diversity in Southern California. These include installations focusing on Jain textile temple hangings (Chhoda); the sacred arts of traditional Yoruba religion in Africa and the Americas; and an exhibition dedicated to the visual culture of Sikhism. We are also collaboratively reimagining elements of our permanent collection exhibition, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives. In each of these projects, we seek to represent lived experiences of religion and their impact on everyday life.

The digital initiative Art Stories presents material expressions of belief through a range of perspectives and media. The project’s overarching aim is to create a platform for different expert communities to interpret and share the significance of religious, ceremonial, and devotional works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Indigenous Americas, guaranteeing that voices from these regions and their diasporas are prioritized in the interpretation of the Fowler’s collection.

We are expanding the museum’s educational outreach to community partners to co-design public programs that amplify the indispensable knowledge of Los Angeles’ faith-based communities, while informing Art Stories and the above-mentioned exhibitions.

Engaging Lived Religion

External Academic Advisory Committee:

Anthea Butler, University of Pennsylvania
S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College
Daisy Vargas, University of Arizona
Eric Lewis Williams, National Museum of African American Culture and History

Click here for the Press Release.

Click here to learn about Lilly Endowment’s Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative.

Public Programming for Engaging Lived Religion
The following programs have been generously funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Offering a platform to different religious and spiritual viewpoints, these programs facilitate greater appreciation of the rich, diverse, and indispensable knowledge of our city’s faith-based communities.

June 13, 2020: A Prayer for the Runner

September 19, 2020: A Global Destination for Art: CRYPTIK

October 2020: Make Your Own Calaca workshop with Self-Help Graphics & Art

October 17, 2020: Share the Mic: Incarcerated Arts

October 23, 2020: Festivals in the City of Angels: Día de los Muertos and Linares Studio

November 12, 2020: Festivals in the City of Angels: Flames of Devotion

November 13, 2020: Global Cuisine Cooking Lessons: Diwali Sweets

November 21, 2020: A Global Destination for Art: Mark Steven Greenfield

December 17, 2020: Festivals in the City of Angels: Kwanzaa in Leimert Park Village

January 22, 2021: Engaging Lived Religion: Crafting Cartographies – Mapping LA

February 23, 2021: Fowler Talks: Komfa and the Ritual Embrace of Shaded Heritages

April 19, 2021: Lunch & Learn: Love Divinities in Vodou Art

May 20, 2021: Engaging Lived Religion: Muslim Communities in LA

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