Artist Margaret Adams Parker of Virginia Theological Seminary will receive an Honor Award from Faith & Form for her sculpture “Mary as Prophet—He has filled the hungry with good things (Luke 1:53).”

Parker will receive the award at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Institute of Architects in Orlando on April 27.

Commissioned by Virginia Theological Seminary and dedicated in October 2015 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Mary as Prophet” offers a new interpretation of the Visitation, depicting the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth as African women.

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“The sculpture takes a radically different approach to the story of Mary and Elizabeth, and moves the narrative in a new direction,” jurors’ notes said. “They are shown supporting each other, which is part of the message. The work portrays a comforting and trusting gesture. … [Y]ou can be at an eye-to-eye level with the subjects.”

The sculpture sits between the walls of the seminary’s 1881 Chapel Garden and Immanuel Chapel, linking old and new.

Parker has taught on the adjunct faculty at Virginia Seminary since the 1991-92 academic year. She received a Master of Fine Arts from the American University in 1984 and a Bachelor of Arts in classical languages from Wellesley College in 1970.

An artist whose work often deals with religious and justice themes, she has completed numerous commissions for churches and religious institutions and has an extensive exhibition record that includes 25 solo shows.

She teaches and writes on the voice of the visual arts in the church, with particular focus on the visual arts as a means of exploring the biblical text, the nature of the creative act, the role of artist as theologian, and sight as a theological act.

The awards program is cosponsored by Faith & Form and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture, a knowledge community of the American Institute of Architects. The awards program was founded in 1978 with the goal of honoring the best in architecture, liturgical design, and art for religious spaces. It offers five primary categories for awards: religious architecture, liturgical/interior design, sacred landscape, religious arts, and unbuilt work.

Adapted from a report by VTS • Image of “Mary as Prophet” from Margaret Adams Parker’s website

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