Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom


Media Contact:
Evangeline Politis
Communication Specialist

Loyola University Museum of Art Presents
Annual Holiday Exhibition
Art and Faith of the Crèche Returns to Michigan Avenue
for Its Ninth Year

CHICAGO, December 6, 2016—Celebrating its ninth year as a holiday tradition, Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan opens today at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). The exhibition showcases more than 100 Nativities from around the world.

Every Christmas season since 2007, LUMA has exhibited crèches donated to the museum by collectors James and Emilia Govan. The exhibition is curated from more than 550 works created by artists from 126 countries illustrating how artists across the globe depict the Nativity. Beginning with a simple Sicilian crèche that reflected Emilia’s heritage, the collection grew quickly as the Govans began commissioning artisans to create crèches that reflected their homeland through native flora, fauna, costumes, and architecture.

“LUMA is grateful for the generosity of James Govan who continues to donate prized pieces from his personal crèche collection to the museum each year,” said Natasha Ritsma, PhD, curator at the museum. “These new acquisitions are displayed next to well-loved favorites in what has become a holiday tradition for our museum members, the Chicago community, and out-of-town visitors.”

Loyola’s new president, Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD, was invited to choose the 2016 Crèche of the Year, a Nativity that is highlighted in the exhibition. Dr. Rooney selected a work by Joan and David Kottler (United Kingdom). Disappointed with what they had seen in shops, the Kottlers took on the endeavor themselves. They created a whimsical work to convey the true mystery and wonder of Christmas to their children. The scene represents both the humble and exotic elements of the Nativity; its shepherds are clothed in simple stiffened fabric, whereas the kings are extravagantly and colorfully adorned.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit LUC.edu/luma. Friends of the museum are also invited to sponsor a crèche and celebrate their heritage or that of a loved one. These sponsorships support LUMA’s care of this special collection and the display of the annual exhibition. Details can be found here.

Public Programming

All events take place at LUMA, 820 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611.

Opening Reception
Friday, December 9, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of the holiday exhibition Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan. Admission is $15 for the public and free for LUMA members and Loyola students, faculty, and staff.

Lecture – One Night in Bethlehem: Celebration of a Birth
Tuesday, December 13, 6 p.m.

Join Chris Benoodt, master docent and art consultant, as she discusses the traditions and history of the crèche. The lecture is free.

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. The museum is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. The museum is located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus and occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Michigan Avenue. For more information, please visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

LUMA now has new hours: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. and Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Admission is free on Tuesdays. General Admission is $9, $6 for seniors, and $3 for non-Loyola students under 25 with ID. Admission is free with proper identification to members; Loyola faculty, staff, and students; clergy members; employees of other museums; youth 17 and under; and active military members and their families.

Art illuminating the spirit




LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO · 1032 W. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660 · 773.274.3000

Notice of Non-discriminatory Policy