Strake Jesuit Art Museum Receives Sculpture
The Strake Jesuit Art Museum recently received a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, adding to its collection of more than 300 works of art. Sculptor Jerry McKenna presented his creation to Father Jeff Johnson, president of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, who graciously accepted the bronze figure depicting Mary pregnant with Jesus.
“As a Catholic school with an art museum, we have surprisingly little religious or sacred art,” said Father Johnson, who serves on the board of directors for the museum. “This statue of Mary will greatly add to our collection as we focus on adding works of art dealing with sacred themes.”
The Strake Jesuit Art Museum opened in 1996, introducing another feature to make Strake more than a typical high school. The art around campus helps students grow in their understanding of culture and religion. This environment also presents an opportunity to experience art outside of traditional museums, incorporating it into the educational experience.
“Our mission as a Jesuit school is to form and educate all aspects of the human person. Art communicates in unique ways and can help us better understand ourselves and our place in the world. Our art museum is spread out over the entire campus—in classrooms, hallways, stairwells and common areas—so students are surrounded by the power of the art to inspire, challenge and inform.”
Artwork at the school ranges from traditional to modern art with artists represented including those with Texas ties (McKenna, James Surls and Luis Jimenez) as well as household names like Pablo Picasso. This wide variety of art can be found across the campus.
“Being surrounded by art each day can help students experience an important dimension of the human person that is often overlooked. Each work of art has a power and a force that is unique to itself and can have an impact on different people in different ways. The complexity of art can help students encounter the complexity of life, especially the complexity of other human beings. Human beings are much more similar to a work of art than they are to a number or an equation. Art reminds us of our having been created uniquely by God.”
McKenna’s sculptures can be found in museums, parks, churches, universities and halls of fame around the world. In 1987, he was selected to create the processional cross for the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in San Antonio. Additional religious works include life-size crucifixes and large baptismal fonts, while McKenna also created five statues outside of Notre Dame Stadium of the school’s national championship-winning coaches and numerous bronze busts of enshrinees at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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