Janalee Emmer, Associate Director of Exhibitions and Programming of the Museum of Art, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. In her career as an art historian and museum professional, Emmer has learned secular and spiritual lessons from the art she has studied.
Emmer started by quoting Rosa Bonheur, a female painter in the nineteenth century: “My whole life has been devoted to improving my work and keeping alive the Creator’s spark in my soul. Each of us has a spark, and we’ve all got to account for what we do.” While Bonheur used her spark to open doors for women who would follow her, Emmer asked what we are doing to keep the Creator’s spark alive in our souls and develop our divine gifts. “The truth is that this search for your place, for excellence and for your particular aptitudes will be a lifelong pursuit,” she said. “While not all of us are artists, all of us need both creativity and inspiration to find our way. I believe that the arts and the gospel can guide us as we go, providing fresh perspectives, new ways of looking and much needed reassurance.” Emmer pointed to the book 'Night' by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel as a formative piece of art that influenced her faith in God. Upon his arrival to Auschwitz, he and his father were separated from the rest of his family, and he witnessed firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust. The horrific circumstances Wiesel lived through affect how he describes his faith and relationship with God in his narrative. “Faith that is tested, wounded, but here, is a powerful, transformative kind of faith,” Emmer said. “That kind of faith recognizes that because we look through a glass darkly, we will still have questions. It is a faith that has battle scars but also enduring resonance.” Continue reading the article written by Kaylee Esplin on news.byu.edu.