The Chapel of the Resurrection is one of the focal points of Valparaiso University’s campus. The 2016 Christ College gallery aims to capture the rich history of the chapel, and the history of Valpo’s graphic design program.
The gallery features a few dozen of the chapel’s program covers from the 1960s and 1970s, created by Professor Richard Brauer’s graphic design students. Shortly after Brauer came to the university he became curator of the art collection.
“One of the responsibilities as curator of the collection, I was to use it educationally,” Brauer said. “This was an educational use that would serve the student and the student body.”
Brauer’s idea for the project came from a painting in the art collection that currently hangs over the fireplace in the Mueller Hall Commons.
Brauer thought the painting would be excellent to recreate in one color and to use as a booklet cover for the weekly chapel booklets. “I thought to myself, I teach graphic design and this would be something for graphic design students to do covers for the worship folders,” Brauer said. “The Chapel agreed --- and so, that was the beginning of a 21-year program.”
During his time as a professor, Brauer had his students hand draw their ideas for covers for the Chapel’s worship folders on a weekly basis. All of the covers had to be handmade, as the technological graphic design software we use today was nonexistent.
“These are multiple, unnumbered originals,” Brauer said.
The gallery, which is in the Mueller Hall Commons, features around 40 different covers that were all created by students during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
Each booklet cover is organized by liturgical season, which creates unity among the images. One image from a Palm Sunday booklet features the figure of a crucified Jesus against a background of palms that were hand painted by the students.
Another image, a booklet for the first Sunday of Advent, depicts baby Jesus as an embryo surrounded by a halo with the words, “The night is far gone, the day is at hand.”
According to Brauer, the booklet covers became quite popular across campus. “I think there got to be a following, students saved them,” Brauer said. “When I went into the dorms sometimes I saw some of the covers on their dorm doors.”
The gallery also features information on the designers, including how many covers they designed and details of their career paths after college.
“These folders are a smaller part of a larger art expression,” Brauer said. Not only did the booklet covers help to bring Valpo’s faith community together, but they helped the student designers develop their careers in art.
Brauer also spoke about the uniqueness of the exhibit and said he doesn’t know of any other school that participated in a similar program.
“I would love to have it on YouTube, and then call this to the attention to other art teachers at other schools,” Brauer said.
For now, Valpo has brought the exhibit to its students to celebrate the history of student accomplishment, the Chapel community and graphic design.
The gallery is currently featured in the Mueller Hall Commons.
Contact Emmy Bender at firstname.lastname@example.org.