Shaped by her experiences as an artist, teacher, and Catholic nun, Corita Kent used her art to bring people together and ignite social change. Her screenprints position words in innovative ways to awaken her viewers to new ideas. In When Was the Last Time You Saw a Miracle? a selection of prints from the 1950s and 1960s, which are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, Kent combines vivid color with quotations, everyday slogans, and biblical scripture to create inspirational messages of hope and harmony for humankind.
As an eighteen-year-old with a creative spirit, Kent entered the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles, California, in 1936 and started her journey as an artist, teacher, and Catholic nun. She ran a screenprinting studio at Immaculate Heart College, teaching her students how to create art and often collaborating with them to produce prints, banners, and art-filled events. Many of her early prints from the 1950s demonstrate her interest in using words
in innovative ways.
In 1962, the Second Vatican Council announced a series of reforms to the Catholic Church and encouraged religious leaders to make their practices more relevant to contemporary life. Kent followed suit and shifted her prints from pure scripture to language found in the everyday world. Billboards, street signs, and advertisements became her source material. She paired this language of consumer culture with quotations from poetry, music, and comic strips to create combinations that could nurture the soul. Kent left Los Angeles in 1968 and transitioned to a secular life but continued to produce screenprints into the 1980s. Her prints, whether viewed as religious teachings or everyday wisdom, remain inspirational messages for generations of viewers.
Come and see how Corita Kent can inspire you. This exhibition will run from August 16 - October 21, 2022. If you have any questions, please call 828.227.ARTS.
IMAGE TEXT: "that's what's needed don't you see? that! nothing else matters half so much. to reassure
one another. to answer each other. Perhaps only you can listen to me and not laugh.
Everyone has, inside himself...what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone
is...a very great, very important character! Yes, that's what's we have to tell them
up there! Every man must be persuaded--even if he's in rags--that he's immensely,
immensely important! Everyone must respect him; and make him respect himself too.
They must listen to him attentively. Don't stand on top of him, don't stand in his
light. But look at him with deference. Give him great, great hopes he needs them...especially
if he's young. Spoil him! Yes, make him grow proud!
The WCU Fine Art Museum exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. Standard Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM-4PM, and Thursday, 10AM-7PM.