From now until June 21, the David O. McKay Library asks BYU-Idaho students, faculty and staff to submit their artwork inspired by the Book of Mormon.
Aside from Illustrating the “unsung heroes” of the Book of Mormon contest, people can submit anything from sculptures and ceramics to textiles, paintings, drawings, book art and photography.
“We’re looking for ways to encourage people to interact with the Book of Mormon,” said Adam Luke, Records Retention and Archives librarian. “One of those ways is through art. We’re hoping to have people share with us those personal reflections they have as they study the scriptures.”
Submitted art will feature in an exhibit in Special Collections and Archives on the second floor of the McKay Library, room 220. The winners, as determined by style and medium used, will receive a prize. An overall winner will be selected, in addition to someone from each category of the medium created.
“The real goal is to provide works that inspire them,” Luke said. “The real prize is reflected in their art from the Book of Mormon.”
Illuminating the Book of Mormon through art accomplishes Luke’s hope for the contest.
“One of our collections is scripture collections and early editions of the Bible,” Luke said. “Those include illuminated manuscripts of the Bible, ways in the middle ages people might illuminate or paint, or reflecting on a verse or something like that.”
Illuminating in this context not only refers to shedding light on certain scripture stories or lessons, but to enlighten spiritually or intellectually, to make clear, or to decorate, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary.
According to Ancient History Encyclopedia, illuminations of scripture started in Western Europe between 500 and 1600 BC. Monks and book-makers illustrated stories and included them as part of hand-made manuscripts. To create an “illuminating” effect and draw attention to the text, creators would paint with gold and silver, hence the name of the art — illumination. Luke mentioned illuminating the Book of Mormon as a fun and different way to engage with the Book of Mormon
Along with the Mckay Library staff, faculty from the art department will serve as judges to determine the winners and to help interpret media styles and techniques.
Over the past two months, Chris Fox, a librarian; Katie Walker, a junior studying communication; and Sam Richardson, a senior studying communication, organized the contest to launch it in June.
Richardson, a student-lead for the McKay Library, also leads the contest details.
“What better way to involve the art students in the exhibit than to have them create art,” Richardson said.
According to Luke, contestants don’t need to create new artwork but can use previous projects.
“I’m looking forward to how creative the students can be,” Richardson said. “I’m always amazed when I see students create something with their own hands and using their own ideas because it always turns out beautiful, and especially since the focus is on the Book of Mormon, I feel like we’re going to get some very emotional and personal pieces from students.”
The artwork must meet the June 21 submission deadline and should be to the Special Collections and Archives in room 220 of the McKay Library. Emailed submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Book of Mormon Art” in the subject line are also acceptable. The art exhibit will begin July 1 and winners will be notified on July 12.