FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2021
(New York, NY) The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought & Culture announces its new season, Epiphanies of Beauty, featuring virtual programming in honor of Black History Month, the much-anticipated 2021 New York Encounter the weekend of February 12 through February 14,a preview screening of Bobbie Jo: Under the Influence with panel discussion, and the return of renowned art historian Dr. Elizabeth Levy for a talk on the life and legacy of American sculptor of color Edmonia Lewis on February 16 at 3pm. Epiphanies of Beauty begins this evening, February 5 at 7pm, with the timely panel discussion “The Church and Racial Justice: A Conversation in Truth and Hope” moderated by award-winning journalist and author Liz Faublas. This event, which is co-sponsored by the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York and the Divine Nine Greek Letter Societies, is part of a broader initiative to celebrate the African and African American experience in the New York faith community. It includes a day of service tomorrow at the Kennedy Center and the Annual Black History Month Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, February 7 at 1pm.
Panelists for this evening’s talk include Rev. Joseph A. Brown, S.J., Ph.D., Professor of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Rev. Joseph Parkes, S.J., Provincial Assistant for the Pre-Secondary & Secondary Education, East Coast Jesuits, Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Former Executive Director of Pax Christie USA and Former President of the National Black Sisters’ Conference; and reporter and documentarian Steve Crump. The talk is organized around the topics raised in Mr. Crump’s documentary “Facing an Uncomfortable Truth” which explores the complicated history regarding matters of racial justice in the early years of the Catholic Church in Kentucky. Panelists will discuss these issues in today’s world as well as the pathways forward. A link to the documentary is available at sheencenter.org.
Next Wednesday, February 10, 2021 The Sheen Center will host an exclusive preview screening of the documentary Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence, a powerful film about recovery, redemption, and the transformation of an entire neighborhood. Bobbi Jo Reed is a hero and a mother to the broken, forgotten, and abused young people living on the streets. One by one, Bobbi Joe reaches a hand down into the darkness and pulls these young souls into the light. She is able to do so because she has walked in their shoes. The documentary tells the harrowing story of Bobbi Jo’s descent into addiction and her remarkable journey back, through Grace, to a life of courage, clarity, and extraordinary generosity. A link to the Eventbrite is available on the website at sheencenter.org. Access is limited to the first 200 guests. Friday, February 12 at 5pm the Sheen Center will host a talkback with the filmmakers, Brent and Donna Jones, and Bobbi Jo Reed.
Dr. Elizabeth Lev, distinguished, Rome-based art historian, author, and speaker returns to The Sheen Center stage with the virtual event “Forever Free: A Presentation on the Life and Legacy of Sculptor Edmonia Lewis” on Tuesday, February 16 at 3pm. Born a free woman of African-Haitian and Native American parents in 1844 and orphaned at an early age Edmonia Lewis overcame the prejudice and racism of her day to become the first American sculptor of color to achieve international recognition. Finding harbor in the Rome of Pope Pius IX, where she converted to Catholicism, Edmonia was lauded and admired by the leaders of her day, including Ulysses S. Grant and abolitionist Frederick Douglas. He works, inspired by classical and biblical themes now adorn the Smithsonian. You won’t want to miss this encounter with genius.
Epiphanies of Beauty is a reference to Pope John Paul II Letter to Artist where he reminds us that “every genuine inspiration… contains some tremor of that ‘breath’ with which the Creator Spirit suffused the work of creation from the very beginning.” (15) This season builds on the theme of creation and virtual programming that we shared in January in honor of Respect for Life month, which set our sights on the question: what does it means to be human? To view January’s talk with O. Carter Snead, Executive Director of Notre Dame’s De Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, moderated by Kathryn Lopez senior fellow at the National Review Institute, please visit our Youtube channel @sheentalks.
THE SHEEN CENTER FOR THOUGHT & CULTURE (www.sheencenter.org) is a New York City arts center located in NoHo that presents a vibrant mix of theater, film, music, art and talk events. A project of the Archdiocese of New York, The Sheen Center serves all New Yorkers by presenting performances and artists that reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful. Named for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best remembered as an inspirational author, radio host and two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality, The Sheen Center reflects his modern-day approach to contemporary topics. The Sheen Center is a state-of-the-art theater complex that includes the 270-seat off-Broadway Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition TV and live-stream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat off-off-Broadway Black Box Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery.