Catholic University of America Presents The Sacred in the Modern: The Art of Helen Schrider Higgins

By Editorial Team on October 25, 2021

Thu, 28 October 2021 - Sun, 09 January 2022

Madonna and Child by Helen Schrider Higgins. Photo Credit: Greg Staley

Reception: Thursday, October 28 from 4pm to 7pm

The Sacred in the Modern spotlights the life and career Helen Schrider Higgins, who was simultaneously a trailblazer and a traditionalist. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Helen received her B.A. (1952) and M.F.A. (1955) from The Catholic University of America (CU).  She started at CU in 1948 not long after woman were allowed to enroll. She came into her own as an artist under the mentorship of Alexander Giampietro, a sculptor and ceramic artist who received his M.F.A. from Alfred University in 1946 and attended the short-lived, yet influential, New Bauhaus of Chicago in 1937. Another key art professor, Kenneth Noland, the celebrated Washington Color School painter attended legendary Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, before moving to D.C.. Helen was the only female student in Noland’s graduate advanced design course where she befriended fellow graduate student, Howard Mehring, who became a lifelong friend.  After graduating from CU, at a time when few women combined career with marriage and family, she never stopping creating art and exhibiting while she raised her nine children.

The Sacred in the Modern surveys the artist’s key works and highlights the artistic processes she utilized. Her body of work includes sculptural ceramics, functional ceramics, color-infused oil pastel drawings and woodblock prints.  The sacred themes that honored her Catholic faith were intertwined with her connection to the natural world and her reverence for all life. The exhibition is curated by Mary Welch Higgins.

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The Catholic University of America is located at 620 Michigan Ave. NE.