2004 Women’s Art Exhibition at the D.C. Temple Visitors Center

by Justin Hart

Centuries ago, art was a privilege of the aristocracy; only the wealthy could own art; and only the upper class could enjoy it.  Today, society still holds on to certain classes but access to art, creation of art, and even art ownership are now the inclusive experience of most people on the earth. 

As Steevun Lemon pointed out, there seems to be a Latter-day renaissance emerging around fine arts.  The Washington D.C. area is no exception.  Last year’s exhibition at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors center, “Women of Faith” ( featured here on Meridian) trumpeted an exciting year of events.   

This year’s exhibition has lost no momentum from the well-trafficked 2003 exhibit.  The quality of the show is exceptional. Invariably, as visitors wander through the 170 pieces on display, they question aloud: “Where did these women come from?” 

Women from all over the D.C. area have contributed to this year’s event, from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and beyond.  Over a dozen non-members have also been included in this year’s exhibition.  The artists also range broadly in age, the youngest being 14. 

The exhibit is no mean feat, with 90 artists and over 170 pieces represented.  Alice Hemming and Sharon Furner have organized the event with the help of Elder Knight, Director of the Visitors Center.  Last year, 15,000 visitors walked through the show and Elder Knight expects this year’s exhibit to easily pass those numbers.

“We live in a temporal world and the Visitors Center is a spiritual place;  a place where members and non-members can find peace.” said Elder Knight, “The visual arts brings the spirit into their lives, softens their hearts and they feel the joy, the love and the peace.  That’s our objective.”

The expression of art at the exhibit ranges from impressionist to paper mache.  There are photographs, watercolors, oil-based, sculptures and cross-medium works. “This exhibit gives women the opportunity to express their talents,” says Alice Hemming,  “an opportunity to show their gifts from God.” 

“Historically, women’s art has been invisible.  Today, art brings them into visibility.”  Sister Hemming continues, “We don’t have to shock anybody, we don’t have to be crass to succeed. Last year when the women came in and saw their art displayed they were beaming.  This year was no exception.”

“Seeing and hearing are cognitive, but art expresses something spiritual.  Women’s perspectives are different from men’,” says Elder Knight.  Sharon Ferner agrees: “This is not just an art show, there is something wonderful about this art show, something above and beyond a regular art show.”

Needless to say, this is powerful art and a powerful expression of the gifts of God to his children. The exhibit continues at the Washington D.C. Visitors Center through May 15th.

Come see some sampled work from the exhibition in our online gallery.