At the beginning of each new performing arts season, downtown's Trinity Cathedral offers a Blessing of the Artists. This year's Blessing of the Artists will be Wednesday, September 28, at 5:00 p.m. It is a simple 45- to 50-minute liturgy inspired by the Cathedral's Anglican heritage but intended for all artists. The service is sensitive to the diversity of our arts community.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Catherine Brall, Provost of Trinity Cathedral, will officiate. Father Paul Johnston, an artist-lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music and a priest at the Cathedral, will give a short sermon.
The Blessing is targeted for professionals, students, dedicated amateurs in the arts, and for those who are their patrons and audience. These include performers, visual artists in commercial and fine art, writers, architects, arts educators, arts administrators and promoters, and those in the culinary arts.
The event encourages the general public – the fans and audiences and viewers – to join in blessing our artists. "We welcome all who love the arts, because we'd like to demonstrate the region's solidarity behind our cultural community," says Cn. Brall.
The climax of the brief liturgy is a blessing by water – a light sprinkling known historically as aspersion.
"The Blessing of the Artists typically can have a soloist from the Pittsburgh Opera sitting next to members of a church choir," says Fr. Johnston. "And in front of them you might find a crew member from a movie shoot or a student from culinary school."
For the Blessing, artists are encouraged to bring tools or symbols of their professions or avocations – instruments, paintbrushes, cameras, mouthpieces, reeds, drumsticks, ballet slippers, drama masks, laptop computers, chef's toques, etc. In the past, this feature of the Blessing of the Artists has been a source of creativity and even amusement.