Santa Clara University

SCU Today

Back to Blog

Photo exhibits at de Saisset Museum explore sacred places and homelessness

Pictures worth more than 1,000 words
Homelessness addressed through photography exhibit

“The Power of Portraiture: A Retrospective of Sixth Street Photography Workshop” presents work produced over the past decade by photographers associated with the Sixth Street Photography Workshop, a collaborative and community-focused organization based in San Francisco. The exhibit opened Jan. 13 at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University and runs through Mar. 4.

As a special local complement, this exhibition includes 30 portraits produced by SCU students. The students worked collaboratively with Sixth Street photographers and set up a free portrait day at the Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM) in San Jose. After the portrait day, students printed the photographs, assembled albums, and presented the albums to the CHAM community during a dinner the students organized in early December. This project was part of a course called Exploring Society Through Photography, and it provided students with a unique opportunity to explore the issue of homelessness in their own backyard while having a positive impact on the community.

“When a photograph is created from a place of empathy, compassion, and consciousness, it’s not only a beautiful piece of art but has the ability to provoke awareness in a viewer and help to bring positive change to our society,” said Renee Billingslea, instructor of the class.

“The Power of Portraiture” exhibit is co-sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Learning at Santa Clara University.

Faith Placed: de Saisset photo exhibition explores sacred spaces

What spaces are sacred and why? How are people affected by the mystery and magic of sacred places? How do sacred spaces transcend cultural and geographic boundaries? “Faith Placed: The Intersection of Spirituality and Location in Contemporary Photography,” an exhibit that opened Jan. 13 at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University, explores some of these questions with the help of photographic art.

The exhibition showcases places of worship, pilgrimage, and memorial, produced through a variety of aesthetic and conceptual approaches. Featuring a wide variety of images that range from Gothic cathedrals to the Burning Man festival, the photographs represent places with tremendous symbolic and spiritual potential.

“The artists use the power of photography to create images that highlight the magic of sacred places,” said Karen Kienzle, curator of the exhibit.

The sacred sites showcased in the exhibition represent a diversity of faiths, from indigenous and prehistoric to many of the world’s modern religions, such as Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the Muslim faith.

“Several of the artists have devoted their careers to representing spirituality in numerous manifestations throughout the world—demonstrating their interest in a more universal and inclusive approach to faith,” said Kienzle, who organized the exhibition in response to an emerging trend in recent photography in which artists are focusing on spiritual places.

The exhibition features images by: Dugan Aguilar, Linda Connor, Robert Dawson, Kathryn Dunlevie, Steve Dzerigian, Lissa Jones and Curt Fukuda, Geir Jordahl, r.r. jones, Kate Jordahl, Michael Kenna, Laurie Long, Roman Loranc, David Pace, Michael Rauner, Meridel Rubenstein, Brian Taylor, and Marco Zecchin.

As a special complement to the exhibition, “Faith Placed” will include a community gallery in which visitors are encouraged to submit or e-mail images of places that are sacred to them. The community gallery space will ask visitors: “What spaces are sacred to you, and why?” These images will be posted in the community gallery and will provide a community response to the exhibition.

Artist Linda Connor will give a lecture at 6 p.m. Feb. 28.

“Faith Placed” is co-sponsored by the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education’s Bannan Institute at Santa Clara University.

About the de Saisset Museum
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University is the South Bay’s free museum of art and history. The museum is one of only two museums in the South Bay accredited by the American Association of Museums. The de Saisset Museum supports SCU’s goal of educating the whole person through diverse exhibitions, collections, and educational programs.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,377 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see


Tags: deSaissetexhibits012907

Printer-friendly format