It was 2011 when Jill Rodts heard about a sacred art show and tried to convince family and friends to travel six hours to see it.
"That's too far to drive, Jill," Rodts was told, as she recalled the first days of what has become an annual event at her own church, St. Pius X Catholic, Rock Island.
Rodts began special research in 2011, conducted interviews with art instructors she knew, took a course in Kansas City on how to incorporate sacred art into faith, organized volunteers and launched what is now the Art of Faith, Juried Sacred Art Show and Sale.
The event, "Contemplating the Holy Face of God," is Feb. 18-19, with the deadline for artist entries, in the form of photos, on Feb. 8.
"Right now we are looking for more artists," she said.
Accepted works include portraits of Jesus Christ and his ministry, Bible stories, or some saints. It includes all kinds of faith depictions that help people pray to God, Rodts said.
Poets, potters, illustrators, photographers, painters, sculptors, people who do iconography, designers, weavers, musicians and jewelers are invited.
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Artists have their own tables for display at Farrell Hall at St. Pius. Last year, 30 creators took part, some from the Diocese of Davenport in Iowa, and others from the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois.
The artists stand next to their work on display, ready to answer questions or take commissions at the show.
It's a free event, and open to anyone. A freewill offering is collected at the door.
There will be live music by some of the artists, and also by a group of five, Harper's Delight, who play instrumental harps.
"They play in the background as people walk through the exhibits," Rodts said, calling the music "contemplative and soothing to hear."
Twenty percent of the proceeds go to the Art of Faith Ministry at St. Pius. Among other activities, volunteers make cards for sick and home-bound church members.
The sacred art event is especially great because it unites people, art and their faith, Rodts said.
Sacred art is widely available, because art was the only way to communicate about faith before reading and writing became a widespread skill. "The church has such a rich heritage and beautiful works of art; there is a lot out there," she said.
Rodts, herself, is an artist. She draws, paints, writes prayer cards and poetry, and is learning about iconography. Her work is online: visionillustration.com