S.I.A.C. is an international association of Christian artists…
…artists who work to Christian themes, for liturgical spaces and / or who live and work according to Christian values. S.I.A.C. seeks to bring together artists of many nationalities and backgrounds to share experiences and grow in mutual understanding.
S.I.A.C. is an association open to creative artists of all disciplines – poets, composers, photographers, visual artists and writers among others. It is an independent, membership led organisation.
S.I.A.C.’s primary aim is the promotion of all form of Christian art work.
In pursuance of this aim, S.I.A.C. hopes to…
o …be a link between Christian creative artists through the organisation of conferences, workshops and exhibitions.
o …develop symbiotic links with other groups and organisations that are of relevance to its members.
o …to encourage dialogue with Christian churches on matters relating to Christian art and artists.
Committed to ecumenism, S.I.A.C. respects all religions and churches.
The Early Years:
The International Society of Catholic Artists (S.I.A.C.) was founded in September 1951.
In 1950, as part of the Holy Year, Pax Romana1 had organised an exhibition of work by Catholic Artists. Five of the artists involved in the exhibition undertook to meet the following year at the Pax Romana congress in Rheims with as many like-minded people as possible. The five were, Lambert & Ineke Simon, Christof Winternitz, & Helene Koller-Buchweiser and Ferdinand Pfamatter.
In 1951 S.I.A.C. was founded as an affiliate of Pax Romana. The idea behind the founding of S.I.A.C. was to bring together international artists, who lived according to Christian principles and who wanted to integrate these values in their work. They wanted to exchanging views and provide mutual encouragement and hoped to influence society with these values by their relationship with each other. As the group developed it was directed by an international committee, consisting of a President, Vice president, Treasurer and representatives from the member countries. The committee met once a year. An international congress was held every two years – there were exhibitions of artists' work, study trips, workshops and excursions. S.I.A.C. stayed closely linked to Pax Romana during its early years.
The aims of Pax Romana and S.I.A.C. were constantly being discussed as the organisation developed. “What do we stand for and where do we go from here?" was a perennial question.
S.I.A.C. organise a congress every two years. The committee together with the host country select a theme relevant to the members and organise speakers and other events such as exhibitions, workshops and study tours.
At various times over the years since 1951, the membership of S.I.A.C. has varied from just below 100 to over 2,000. Attendance at its congresses have varied too, but average at about 100 participants.
In 1965, at the congress in Copenhagen, the name of SIAC was adapted in recognition of a move towards ecumenism. The ‘C’ for Catholic was changed to ‘C’ for Christian, to facilitate further co-operation with Christian artists of other denominations. Though still known as S.I.A.C., the organisation is now officially titled Society International Des Artistes Chretiens (International Society of Christian Artists).
The Congress in 1998, held in Schlierbach, Austria, saw a redefinition of the S.I.A.C. constitution bringing it more in line with its ecumenical Christian stance and also to recognise other changes that had occurred since 1951.
At the congress in 2001 held in Luxembourg the 50th anniversary of S.I.A.C. was celebrated.
Over the years, S.I.A.C. has published numerous catalogues relating to its exhibitions and of members’ work. It has also at different times produced a bulletin and a newsletter.
For the future, S.I.A.C. is likely to concentrate on exhibition catalogues and on its web site as the principal means of communication between members and beyond.
Pax Romana was founded in 1921 in Freiburg by Catholic students and intellectuals, due to a need to spread Christian principles and culture both nationally and internationally. Their motto was "Pax Christi in Regno Christi"