The Museum of Biblical Art celebrated the opening of the Via Dolorosa – a new landmark for the City of Dallas – made possible through the generosity of The Tia Collection, with a full weekend of events on May 15-17. Over 350 friends, donors, and guests attended the Friday evening Ribbon Cutting and Blessing, and the Saturday morning Dedication Ceremonies. The Via Dolorosa is a Mediterranean-style garden featuring the largest outdoor installation of bronze in the world by the late artist Gib Singleton, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The installation includes the traditional 14 stages of the “Way of the Cross” commemorating the last hours of Christ’s life and death. In addition, Singleton’s “Redemption” depicting the resurrected Christ and “The Legend of the Dogwood” are exhibited towards the end of the pathway. The garden, to be landscaped with Biblical trees and plants, will offer a spiritual, meditative place in the heart of Dallas which is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds at no charge.
On Friday evening, after a word of welcome from Museum Director Scott Peck to the assembled guests in the garden, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Dallas City Councilwoman for District 13, expressed her pleasure at being asked to participate. “This is one of the fun parts of my job. The Via Dolorosa will be a beautiful new landmark for all of Dallas to enjoy,” she said. Councilwoman Gates was then joined by Scott Peck, followed by various groups of donors, who came forward to also make a cut in the long velvet ribbon.
Rev. Tom Cloherty of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church gave the blessing of the sculptures. Afterward, guests moved into the Museum ballroom for presentations and a buffet dinner, followed by the opportunity to explore the Museum galleries with guided tours. Seventy-two additional Gib Singleton sculptures had been installed for the weekend—creating the largest exhibit of Singleton sculptures in the world—over the course of the 3-day event.
Among the remarks, Dr. Wayne Yakes, a major collector and supporter of Gib Singleton and MBA Board Member said of him, “This is a special celebration for a titan of our times. There are many artists, but there are few monumentalists. A monumentalist can touch the core of every human, regardless of race, color, religion. There is something that attracts to you to Gib’s art, regardless of who you are.”
The Saturday morning ceremony also included a ribbon cutting by various groups of donors and prayers of dedication from Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and Lutheran clergymen. Museum Director Peck opened once again with words of welcome, and he added, “We are opposite NorthPark, the most visited attraction in Dallas. We hope the Via Dolorosa will become an equally special attraction for our city.”
D. Harold Byrd, III, spoke on behalf of Roberta and D. Harold Byrd, Jr., MBA Board Chairman Emeritus, and the family and of founder Mattie Caruth Byrd. “I want to thank everyone involved in this project for making the Via Dolorosa a reality,” he said. His words were echoed by Kirk Kibler, MBA Board President and Project Contractor, Architect Keith Crouch, AIA, and Susan Atkinson, ASLA, Principal Landscape Architect. Each of them pointed out that every time they shared the project with someone, asking for their involvement, before they could even finish, the response was “I’m in!” Everyone involved in the Via Dolorosa immediately “saw the vision.” Every aspect of this multi-million dollar project was underwritten or provided on a pro bono basis.
Colorado Gallerist and MBA Board Member Paul Zueger, who represented Gib Singleton throughout his career, spoke about Singleton’s vision. “Gib said, ‘This is a religious statement that will endure. Five hundred years from now we want people to know what it was like in 2015.’” At the conclusion of remarks, guests moved into the Museum where breakfast was served, and the Museum was open for gallery tours.
The weekend-long celebration concluded on Sunday with a special presentation for donors and out-of-town guests who gathered in the garden to hear Dr. Gary D. Swaim, a faculty member in the Master of Liberal Studies Program at S.M.U. and the 2011 Texas Senior Poet Laureate. Dr. Swaim, dressed in period attire, and accompanied by classical guitarist Eddie Healy, gave a passionate and moving performance of his original poems which portray the events of the Via Dolorosa.
The words of Museum Director Scott Peck sum up the project. “The Via Dolorosa will certainly become a quiet space for reflection and an international place of pilgrimage.”
Among the many guests in attendance were Faye Briggs; Patty Jo and John Turner; Roberta and D. Harold Byrd, Jr.; Diane and Dr. Harold Byrd, III; Laura and Patti Sparkman; Candy and Walter Evans; Susan and Thomas Stanzel; Shirley and George Shafer; Sue Allin and Frank Meier, Bonnie and Paul Zueger; Nona and Dr. Wayne Yakes.
ABOUT THE VIA DOLOROSA
The project began eight years ago when Scott Peck, Director of the Museum of Biblical Art, saw Singleton’s work in the Santa Fe gallery of Paul Zueger and knew immediately it needed to be at the Museum in Dallas. “Gib Singleton is considered to be a modern master of bronze. His remarkable style is his own,” says Peck. “He created what is called ‘emotional realism’. What mattered to Singleton was not how the art looks, but rather the feeling that it produces in the viewer when looking at it. It is a great privilege for the Museum to freely share these powerful pieces of art with the City of Dallas.”
The Tia Collection came forward saying they would provide the sculptures, but the MBA must build something fitting for them. “I shared my idea of a garden with Dr. Gary Cook, President of Dallas Baptist University, and he said, ‘I want you to meet Mr. Keith Crouch.’ As a result, we literally have two architects, Keith Crouch and Susan Atkinson, who donated ALL of their time. They caught the vision immediately.”
The garden is remarkable, not only for the beauty and power of the sculptures, but also because every facet, from the sculpture to the benches, landscaping, lighting, signage and professional design and construction services was sponsored, donated or supplied at greatly reduced rates for this multi-million dollar project
Paul Zueger says, “Gib Singleton is the finest artist I have ever met. Having his work in Dallas is one of the highlights of his career. The Museum of Biblical Art is like one of the great specialty museums in Europe. I know art because I have been in the art world since the 1960s and you have a treasure here. The Via Dolorosa Sculpture installation pays tribute to a great artist and to one of the great art institutions in the world!”
Fourteen of the 18 sculptures in the Via Dolorosa depict the traditional Stations of the Cross which represent the journey of Christ on the day of his Crucifixion. “Redemption,” which depicts the resurrection of Christ, and “The Legend of the Dogwood” are two of Gib Singleton’s last works before he passed away in February, 2014. An adjoining garden on the West side of the Museum will feature two Old Testament-themed sculptures – “John the Baptist” and “Rebecca at the Well.”
ABOUT GIB SINGLETON
Gib Singleton began making sculptures from mud and straw at the age of three. After service in the army, he received a full scholarship from the Art Institute of Chicago and a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Academia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. He was later recruited by the Vatican Workshop and helped restore Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece, “The Pieta.” Among his many works, Singleton created a bronze crucifix that was chosen by then Bishop Karol Wojtyla to sit atop his staff. Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, carried it for 26 years. Pope Benedict then took up the staff, and Pope Francis has also carried it. For more background, see www.gibsingleton.com.
The Tia Collection
Legacy Sculpture Sponsors
Dr. Wayne and Nona Yakes; Bonnie and Paul Zueger; Faye Briggs; Mr. Karl C. Hoppess; Dr. Gary Cook – Dallas Baptist University; Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation; George A. and Shirley Shafer; Andrew and Jane Adams; Ed Haggar Family Foundation - John and Patty Jo Turner; Don and Katy Houseman.
Legacy Bench Sponsors
Catholic Foundation of Dallas – Mr. Matthew Kramer, President
Christ the King Altar Society - Tracy Wilson
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Cicherski (Sue) - Asel Art Supply
Mr. and Mrs. James L. Forrest (Mary)
Gwinn Family Foundation - Marianne Gwinn, Stephen and Tina Gwinn
Mrs. Harriet Halsell
Mr. and Mrs. Donald Houseman (Katherine)
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Martter (Theresa)
Mrs. Betty Kerr Moberly
Redman Foundation, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Stanzel (Susan)
Prince of Peace Catholic Community
Mr. and Mrs. Howard Westerman
Dr. and Mrs. Richard Wood
Bonnie and Paul Zueger
Dawna Hamm Walsh, Monty Hamm, Charlotte Vernon and Jerry Hamm
Faye Briggs Family
James L and Mary Forrest
D. Harold and Roberta Byrd, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs.Valentine Robinson and Family
Additional Major In-Kind Sponsors
Kibler Construction Company, LLC – General Contractor
Pinson Excavating - Lentz Landscape Lighting - Dave Riddle Electric Company
American Landscape Systems, Inc. - Southern Services Landscape & Irrigation
Zone Systems, Inc. - Noble House and Garden – SI Memorials
Innovative Signs, Florida –- TBMPClick - Archiped Classics, Dallas
Maria Valentina Sheets – Philip Martin – Philip Prince – Adrienne Glaze
Johnson Granite Supply – Spralding Monument Service - Signature Hardware
Graphic Products, LP – Judy Moore Productions, Inc. - Nice Moves
North Haven Gardens, Rusty Allen – Eric Dorton – Spice of Life Catering – Mark Rankin
AAI Trophies, Plano - Gold Crown Valet –– John Roppolo – Julie Dunn
Strong AV Productions - Jim Martin and Gary Bauer, Martin Media – Wayfair
Helen S. Towne, President, and Members of the MBA Guild
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF BIBLICAL ART
The Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas,Texas is unlike any museum in the world. It has a simple mission: to display art with a Biblical theme. It is one of the few museums in the country that is devoted to Biblical themes. It was established in 1967 and named the Museum of Biblical Art in 1999. Nothing of its size exists in the United States, making it a treasure trove for art enthusiasts. Diverse types of art are exhibited including bronze sculpture, drawings, fine prints, and oil paintings. Specialized galleries have been created for Biblical Archaeology, Jewish Art, Religious Architecture, Israeli Art, African American Art and Hispanic Art.
The Museum is a cultural crossroads, utilizing art for tolerance and understanding reflected in the various archaeological exhibits and decorative art from Israel and the Holy Land. The MBA's vision encompasses the classical arts with a call to beauty which emphasizes the Biblical figurative art illustrating the narratives of the Bible, and a call to the study of classical Greco-Roman art, archaeology and architecture.
Museum featured artists Include: John Singer Sargent, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Ben Shahn, Paolo Veronese, Francesco Guardi, Agam, Kathe Köllwitz, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Emil Nolde, James Tissot, Oskar Kokoschka, Bernard Buffet, Andy Warhol, Everett Shinn, John Marin, George Tobolowsky and many more.
The MBA - Museum of Biblical Art Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 to 5:00
7500 Park Lane Late night Thursday until 9:00 PM
Dallas, TX 75225 Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Across from North Park www.biblicalarts.org