Ron Dart


The Arts and Prophetic Vision


Many of the finest artists in history have combined, in an evocative and compelling way, an inner vision of subtle insight and wisdom with a challenging call to engage the public realm in the areas of justice and peacemaking. Such an integration of the inner and outer life is never an easy vocation to live with, but such has been the task and calling of some of the most mature artists. This presentation will explore who some of these artists are, how they have worked out such a vision and the opposition and indifference they have often faced for doing so. The lecture will examine both Christian and non-Christian artists within the Western and Eastern traditions as a means of probing how Art, at its best and noblest, raises up the important issues to the highest and most demanding ethical, public and prophetic levels, and how the Arts, at their more debased and indulgent levels, often panders to a form of narcissism. The Arts and Prophetic Vision will also discuss important artists in Canada that have merged and integrated the artistic vocation and way of life with a demanding prophetic vision. The lecture will conclude with a reflection on why some artists seem to be able to speak at a national level (and are heard for doing so), and others remain in cultural eddies and backwaters.


Ron Dart has taught in the Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1990. Ron was on staff with Amnesty International in the 1980s, and he has published more than twenty books.