SCALA and Princeton Theological Seminary Present

Art, the Sacred, and the Common Good:

Renewing Culture through Beauty, Education, and Worship

April 21-22, 2023

Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ

Speakers

Renewing Culture through Beauty, Education and Worship

Aidan Hart
Iconographer and Author, United Kingdom
Aidan Hart
Iconographer and Author, United Kingdom
Aidan Hart was born in England in 1957 and grew up in New Zealand. He worked as a full-time sculptor after completing a degree in English literature and a Diploma in Secondary Education teaching. In 1983 he became a member of the Orthodox Church, returned to live in England and there began to work as a professional iconographer. While continuing this work, from 1988 to 2000 he tested his vocation as a novice monk, which included spending two years on Mount Athos and six as a hermit in Shropshire, UK. This intense life of prayer had a profound effect on his work. He is now married with two children, his best icons yet. Over the past 40 years Aidan has gained extensive experience in a wide range of media: egg tempera panel painting; fresco; mosaic; stone and wood carving; illuminated manuscript painting; church furnishings. He has over 1300 commissioned works in twenty-five countries of the world. In demand as a writer, lecturer and teacher, he has had numerous articles published on the subjects of iconography, ecology and Orthodox spirituality. In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Temenos Academy. He has published three books: Festal Icons: History and Meaning (2022); Techniques of Iconand Wall Painting (2011, 2015, also in Polish), the most extensive work on the subject in theEnglish language, and Beauty Spirit Matter (2014), a collection of essays. All are published by Gracewing, Leominster.
Jonathan Pageau
Professional Icon Carver, Canada
Jonathan Pageau
Professional Icon Carver, Canada
Jonathan Pageau is a professional artist, writer and public speaker from Quebec, Canada. He delivers several lectures every year in Universities, conferences and other venues around North America. He speaks on art, but mostly on the symbolic structures that underlie our experience of the world. Through his YouTube channel and podcast, The Symbolic World, he also furthers the conversation on symbolism, meaning and patterns in everything from movies, to icons, to social trends. As an artist, Jonathan is one of the only professional icon carvers in North America, taking on institutional and personal art commissions from all over the world. You can view his works in his carving website. Jonathan is the editor and a contributor for the Orthodox Arts Journal which looks at the revival and significance of liturgical art today. He also gives week long carving classes with Hexaemeron School of Liturgical Arts , which are credited by Pontifex University. He recently published a graphic novel called God’s Dog.
Anna Bond
Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Rifle Paper Company
Anna Bond
Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Rifle Paper Company
Anna Bond is co-founder and chief creative officer at Rifle Paper Co., a stationery, home and gift brand centered around Anna’s hand-painted illustrations and the goal of creating beauty in the everyday. Together with her husband Nathan they grew the brand from a two-person idea into a multimillion dollar brand carried in over 7,000 stores around the world since its debut in 2009. She is working on an upcoming book exploring beauty in the everyday and the inspiration behind the design-driven brand she founded, Rifle Paper Co. Beyond Rifle Paper Co., Anna has designed a USPS postage stamp, illustrated numerous books, was honored as an ADC Young Gun, and has been profiled in The New York Times. Anna resides in Maitland, Florida with her husband and four children and is currently working on a Master of Sacred Arts degree from Pontifex University.
Peter Carter
The Catholic Sacred Music Project
Peter Carter
The Catholic Sacred Music Project
Peter Carter is the Founder and Director of the Catholic Sacred Music Project. He also serves as the Director of Sacred Music of the Aquinas Institute of Princeton University and the Director of Sacred Music at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Allentown, New Jersey. He leads the parish chorister program and conducts a 24-voice semi-professional Schola Cantorum who sing for a weekly Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form. He holds degrees from Westminster Choir College, where he studied the organ with Alan Morrison and Daryl Robinson, conducting with Dr. James Jordan and Dr. Andrew Megill, and voice with Dr. Christopher Arneson. From 2019-2020, he served as co-host of Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast, interviewing prominent Church figures and musicians including Robert Cardinal Sarah, Olivier Latry, and Sir James MacMillan. In 2020, he directed the music for a Sarum Vespers which was sponsored by the Durandus Institute and thought to be the first Catholic Sarum liturgy in the United States. Since 2016, he serves as the director of liturgical music for the Pro Civitate Dei summer conferences hosted by the Fraternity of St. Joseph the Guardian in the United States, France, and Chile. In 2021, he founded The Catholic Sacred Music Project with an inaugural Choral Festival at the Cathedral-Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia with Sir James MacMillan featured as the festival conductor.
David Clayton
Pontifex University
David Clayton
Pontifex University
David Clayton is an internationally known artist, teacher, writer and broadcaster. He is currently Provost of a Catholic university, Pontifex University. He created the unique Master of Sacred Arts program at Pontifex, teaching online courses that present a Catholic understanding of culture through subjects on the mathematics of beauty, art history, and traditions in sacred art. After studying math, physics and metallurgy at Oxford University and Michigan Tech University, Clayton pursued his passion for art. He has trained as an iconographer in the Byzantine tradition. He also studied the academic method of naturalistic painting and drawing in Florence, Italy. He moved to the US from his native England in 2009 to be Artist-in-Residence at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, where many of his works of art hang in the chapel. Clayton has had major commissions for the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham (UK); Pluscarden Monastery in Scotland; and the Brompton Oratory in London. He has published a number of popular and academic articles on Catholic art and culture. He has been a regular contributor on sacred art for the New Liturgical Movement website since 2009. In 2010, he established his own popular blog at The Way of Beauty. His published books on art include The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College and The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home (featuring his sacred art). His book on spiritual formation, The Vision for You: How to Discover the Life You Were Made For includes a section on contemplative prayer with art. Clayton has also illustrated several books including God’s Covenant with You, written by Scott Hahn.
Margarita Mooney Clayton
Princeton Theological Seminary and Scala Foundation
Margarita Mooney Clayton
Princeton Theological Seminary and Scala Foundation
Margarita Mooney Clayton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she teaches on topics such as philosophy of social science, Christianity and the Liberal Arts Tradition, and Aesthetics and Christian Education. In 2016, she founded Scala Foundation and continues to serve as Scala’s Executive Director. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her M.A and Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University. She has also been on the faculty at Yale University, Princeton University, Pepperdine University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale University. Her most recent books with Cluny Media The Wounds of Beauty: Seven Dialogues on Art and Education (2022) and The Love of Learning: Seven Dialogues on the Liberal Arts (2021), grew out of her decades of experience as a teacher and scholar. In addition to her scholarly books and articles, she has written on culture, faith, and education for publications that reach wide audiences both inside and outside academia such as Comment, Plough Magazine, Real Clear Policy, Scientific American, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Miami Herald, America Magazine, First Things, Hedgehog Review, Public Discourse, Church Life Journal and the National Catholic Register. She has been interviewed by organizations such as the Acton Institute, Duke Divinity School, the Institute for Humane Studies, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and by Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio
Paul Coyer
Common Sense Society
Paul Coyer
Common Sense Society
Paul Coyer is Research Fellow and Vice President of International Coalitions and Development at the Common Sense Society. He was formerly an Associate Professor at l’Ecole Speciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the French Army’s equivalent of West Point. He is also Non-Resident Senior Fellow for China at Italia-Atlantica, a foreign policy think tank based in Rome, Italy. He has been published in Forbes, Azeri Today (Azerbaijan), and the Kyiv Post (Ukraine), in policy-oriented journals including Revue Conflits: Histoire, Géopolitique et Relations Internationales (France), as well as by academic publishers such as National Defense University Press and Oxford University Press. He is also a co-founder and contributing editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. After receiving a B.A. in religion, he received an M.A. in theological ethics from Yale, followed by an M.A. in the history of the international relations of East Asia and a Ph.D. in international history with a focus on China and the Sino-Russian-American strategic triangle, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Robert Jackson
Great Hearts Institute
Robert Jackson
Great Hearts Institute
Dr. Robert L. Jackson works with a growing network of classical charter schools known as Great Hearts Academies. In less than twenty years, Great Hearts has gone from a single charter school to forty schools in AZ and TX, serving more than 27,000 students in the greater Phoenix area, San Antonio and Dallas. He leads the Great Hearts Institute, which serves at the intersection of higher education and K-12 classical education. The Institute provides conferences, publications, policy analysis and fellowships that bridge the world of K-12 classical education with the best scholarship and research from higher education. The Institute aims to demonstrate the efficacy of classical K-12 curriculum and pedagogy for a growing audience of families, alumni, scholars, policy makers and philanthropists. He received his Ph.D. in Education from Florida State University and from 2001-2013 he was an Associate Professor of English and Education at the King’s College in New York.
RJ Snell
The Witherspoon Institute
RJ Snell
The Witherspoon Institute
R.J. Snell is Editor-in-Chief of Public Discourse and Director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute. Previously, he was for many years Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College, where he founded and directed the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good. He earned his M.A. in philosophy at Boston College, and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Marquette University. His research interests include the liberal arts, ethics, natural law theory, Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the work of Bernard Lonergan, SJ. He is the author of Through a Glass Darkly: Bernard Lonergan and Richard Rorty on Knowing without a God’s-eye View (Marquette, 2006), Authentic Cosmopolitanism (with Steve Cone, Pickwick, 2013), The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode (Pickwick, 2014), Acedia and Its Discontents (Angelico, 2015), and co-editor of Subjectivity: Ancient and Modern (Lexington, 2016) and Nature: Ancient and Modern (Lexington), as well as articles, chapters, and essays in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. He and his family reside in the Princeton area.
SEE ALL SPEAKERS

The

Story

Renewing Culture through Beauty, Education and Worship

The modern myth that beauty emerges from the subconscious of a self-seeking creative genius goes against the traditional understanding that beauty emerges from a living tradition under the inspiration of God. For example, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met regularly in Oxford’s pubs to discuss their writing and their faith. In the early 20th century, Russian exiles in Paris formed a community focused on the re-establishment of the great tradition of iconography so central to Christian worship. Composers like Handel and Mozart created beautiful music accessible to all people that directed listeners to the transcendent.

Conversations and community among creators and thinkers have always been essential to shaping culture. These eminently human moments—and the friendships they inspire—must be cultivated if we are to illuminate America’s darkening culture and society. 

American culture is in rapid collapse in large part because of an abandonment of beauty in education and worship. The Scala Foundation’s 2023 conference on art, the sacred, and the common good grows out of its deep work around Princeton to bring together artists, students, teachers, and scholars.

In a world increasingly hostile to the idea that beauty is anything more than self-aggrandizement or yet one more tool of oppression, this event offers the warmth of community to anyone who is passionate to restore the connections between beauty and truth and between reason and creativity. 

Attendees will be inspired by artists who form virtues through beauty and have the opportunity to build community with people pursuing the way of beauty. Thanks to the generosity of many supporters of this event, we are pleased to offer both Friday and Saturday’s program free of charge. Only Saturday’s sessions will be available to watch (at no charge) via livestream.

“Scala’s conference put culture makers on stage. Attendees sang, prayed, read poetry and beheld icons. I appreciated the chance to go beyond talking about what particular thinkers said and see how beauty is related to our shared lives.”

Micah H.

Novelist and Ph.D. Student in Philosophy, The Catholic University of America; Attendee at 2022 Conference

April 21-22, 2023

Friday 2:30-6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Schedule

See our schedule of events—including panels, meals, breakout sessions and more over 2 days!

Travel & Lodging

Those planning to attend in-person can reserve lodging at a discounted rate right on the PTS campus!

Princeton

Numerous cultural attractions await you!

Art, the Sacred, and the Common Good: Renewing Culture through Beauty, Education, and Worship

April 21-22, 2023

Location: Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
Hosts: Scala Foundation and Princeton Theological Seminary Continuing Education

Friday, April 21

  • 2:30-3:30
    Guided tour of Princeton Theological Seminary illuminated manuscripts
  • 3:00-4:00
    Open house art show at home of David Clayton
  • 4:30-5:00
    Guided tour of Princeton University Chapel
  • 5:30-6:00
    Choral evening prayer led by Peter Carter and Aquinas Institute Choral Scholars at Princeton University Chapel

Saturday, April 22

  • 8:00-9:00
    Registration and coffee/light breakfast
  • 9:00-9:30
    Opening Remarks, Margarita Mooney Clayton, Executive Director, Scala Foundation and morning prayer led by Peter Carter and Choir
  • 9:30-10:45
    Keynote Lecture by iconographer and author Aidan Hart: “Liturgical Art as
    Prophecy and Priesthood: Sacred Art and the Restoration of Human Dignity,”
    followed by a response from David Clayton, artist and Provost of Pontifex University, and Paul Coyer, Vice President of International Development and Coalitions of Common Sense Society
  • 10:45-11:00
    Coffee Break
  • 11:00-12:30
    Keynote Lecture by artist Jonathan Pageau followed by a response from Margarita Mooney Clayton and RJ Snell, Director of Academic Programs of the Witherspoon Institute
  • 12:30

    Midday prayer

  • 12:30-2:00
    Lunch on your own
  • 2:00-3:30

    Breakout sessions

    • Breakout #1: Discussion with Aidan Hart
    • Breakout #2: Discussion with Jonathan Pageau
    • Breakout #3: Discussion with Anna Bond
  • 3:30-4:30
    Concluding discussion with speakers moderated by Margarita Mooney Clayton
  • 4:30-5:00

    Evening prayer led by Peter Carter and Choir

COVID 19 Health and Wellness Agreement : Our health and wellness protocols regarding COVID 19 change based on the guidance of our local health department officials and the number of cases in our region. As a result, protocols are fluid and requirements regarding the use of face coverings, distancing, and testing may change. You can find our current health and wellness guidelines here. Should these change prior to the event, you will be notified by email. All campus visitors are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Fully vaccinated is defined as having received a primary series of the vaccine and a subsequent booster.

Princeton Theological Seminary is easily accessible from local airports, including Newark International and Philadelphia International, via car or public transit. For more information on traveling to the Seminary, click here.

Lodging is available at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Center starting at $70 per night. There are a limited number of these rooms, so please book as soon as you can using the Group ID 115871. Click here for more information.

Cultural Attractions

Visitors to Princeton can take advantage of its many cultural, architectural, intellectual and historical attractions. In addition to a couple of opportunities for a guided tour of an exhibit of illuminated manuscripts at the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, no advance permission is needed for guests to browse the library’s vast theological catalog at any time and peruse its vast collection. The libraries at Princeton University contain further resources, which can be accessed with permission by visiting this site.

The campus grounds boast outstanding landscape architecture, such as the gardens at Prospect House and the quad on either side of historic Nassau Hall. Walking around campus, you can’t miss the picturesque arches, including Blair Arch and architectural gems like the Princeton University Chapel.

The town of Princeton attracts tourists for its lovely Palmer Square, dotted with a variety of eateries and places to shop. Nearby, history was made at the Princeton Battlefield and for those with cars, a visit to historic Washington’s Crossing reminds us of our beginnings as a nation in the American Revolution.

About Scala

The Scala Foundation’s vision is to restore meaning and purpose to American culture by focusing on the intersection of artists (culture creators), liberal arts education and religion (liturgy, personal prayer, theology). Scala engages in deep work in the local community around Princeton to bring together artists, students, teachers, and scholars. Scala also produces publications (books, blogs, articles, interviews), and hosts public events like conferences, webinars and campus lectures open to the public. 

Scala was founded in 2016 by Margarita Mooney Clayton, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, who is the author of numerous books and popular articles, and an inspiring public speaker on topics such as education, culture, virtues and faith. Her husband, David Clayton, is an Artist-in-Residence for Scala and the Provost of Pontifex University, where he founded the Master of Sacred Arts Program. He is an internationally renowned iconographer and writer for various online publications about topics like the mathematics of beauty, liturgical art, and cultural renewal.  

LEARN MORE

Partners