Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture

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The Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture, or ARC, was founded in October 1961 by three people, Alfred Barr, the art critic and founder of the Museum of Modern Art, the theologian Paul Tillich, and Marvin Halverson an American Protestant theologian sometime of the Chicago Theological Seminary and the author of a 1951 booklet, Great Religious Paintings.[1] Its aims and program are based on the deep and complex relationship between religion and the arts. Its first board of directors included these three as well as Unitarian Universalist theologian and parish minister, James Luther Adams; mythologist Joseph Campbell, principal developer of the merger forming the United Church of Christ, Truman B. Douglass; Congregationalist parish minister and theologian Amos Wilder, and Stanley Romaine Hopper, theologian and co-founder of the first Theology and Literature program in the United States.

Among the more than 300 Fellows of the Society have been Mircea Eliade, Denise Levertov, Sallie McFague, Cleanth Brooks, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, and John Updike.

During the late 1960s most of the individuals involved in the published discourse pertaining to the field of theopoetics were either fellows or members of SARCC.[2] Another major focus of the Society has been the role of myth in culture resulting in two publications.[3]

Presently SARCC sponsors public lectures and currently publishes a newsletter, Seedbed. Previously it has published a periodical entitled "ARC Directions."

The archives of SARCC are maintained at the Andover-Harvard Theological Library[4]


  1. ^ Halverson M., Great Religious Paintings, New York, H. N. Abrams, 1951.
  2. ^ Keefe-Perry, L. B. C. (2009). "Christianity and Literature" (PDF). Christianity and Literature. 58 (4). Retrieved 11/10/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ Campbell (ed.), Joseph (1970). Myth, Dreams and Religion. E. P. Dutton & CO. 
  4. ^ "Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture, 1961-2003". Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Retrieved 26 November 2012. .
  • Finley Eversole, ‘Foundation for the Arts, Religion and Culture’, Theology Today, vol. 24, No. 3 (October 1967).
  • Betty H. Meyer, The ARC Story: A Narrative Account of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture (New York, Association for Religion and Intellectual Life, 2003).

See also[edit]