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Introducing the Catholic Art Institute

Announcing the relaunch of the Catholic Art Guild as the Catholic Art Institute in the St. John Cantius Community

The newly re-launched Catholic Art Institute (formerly the Catholic Art Guild, founded 2017), known for its annual conference on sacred art and its speaker’s series and art workshops at Saint John Cantius Church, now offers exciting new programming and opportunities for artists and has instituted a new advisory board.


The Catholic arts are an important facet of evangelization and part of the constitutions of the Canons Regular at St. John Cantius. The Catholic Art Institute shares in the Canon’s charism of the Restoration of the Sacred through the visual arts. Their mission is to restore a culture of truth, beauty, and goodness and to empower artists to use their gifts to glorify God and captivate souls through beauty. This effort is supported by the participation of practicing artists and all ‘custodians of Beauty,’ a term coined by St. John Paul II to describe those who contribute to and defend the arts.

As CAI President and founder Kathleen Carr explains, “The CAI has taken this last year to re-evaluate our mission and vision for the arts. We have chosen the new name ‘Catholic Art Institute’ as a title that better represents our organization’s emphasis on providing educational opportunities and programming to create a vibrant community dedicated to restoring the sacred through art.”

Father Joshua Caswell, Pastor of Saint John Cantius, discusses the mission of the Catholic Art Institute with President Kathleen Carr on the new Catholic Art Institute podcast. Watch the episode here.

History of Excellence:

The CAI (under the name Catholic Art Guild) was launched in 2017 with two highly successful seasons offering many educational events and workshops which took place at St. John Cantius, attended by parishioners, supporters, and art lovers internationally. The two annual conferences were a particular highlight and hosted the top scholars, artists, architects, philosophers, and theologians including noted philosopher the late Sir Roger Scruton, The Queen’s Sculpture in Ordinary Alexander Stoddart, award-winning architects Duncan Stroik and Ethan Anthony, artists Anthony Visco and Juliette Aristides, architectural historian Dr. Denis McNamara, and theologian and musician Dr. Peter Kwasniewski.

The CAI also created partnerships with artists offering traditional art making techniques such as Medieval Illumination with Jed Gibbons, Stained Glass Fabrication with Daprato Rigali Studios, Composition and classical drawing with artist Anthony Visco, and classical drawing with Juliette Aristides. These workshops helped to preserve and propagate centuries-old art making techniques, which are rarely taught elsewhere.

New Programming: This season the CAI has launched unique online programming that helps build up the culture of beauty through elevated discourse, as well as offering a new opportunity for artists to promote and sell their work.

CAI has launched a video podcast series offering insightful interviews with preeminent artists and scholars of sacred art addressing important topics such as making a career in sacred art, the theological definition of beauty, and the role of art in evangelization.

The CAI Sacred Art Prize 2020 is a new prize and online exhibition showcasing and awarding the finest sacred art being made today. The aim of the prize is to promote and reveal the incomparable power of true beauty and to raise the standard of contemporary church art. As there are very few exhibition opportunities for professional Christian artists, this prize and exhibition represents a much-needed platform for quality sacred art. Curated by Dr. Denis McNamara, Director of Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College, the CAI Sacred Art Prize will award $2000 in prizes in an online juried exhibition with a world-wide audience. Artists will have the opportunity to sell work and be featured on the Catholic Art Institute website and podcast. This is an unparalleled opportunity for sacred artists to gain exposure to patrons and scholars of liturgical art as well as our juror, Dr McNamara, who is a preeminent architectural consultant working on church restoration projects and new church designs. Submissions are being accepted now through Dec 2. Please visit our website for more details and to apply.

One of the CAI’s newest partnerships is the support and involvement of a growing advisory board which now consists of Alexander Stoddart, Anthony Visco, Fr. Joshua Caswell, and Dr. Denis McNamara who is heading the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine University.


The success of our work relies on the generosity of our community so please consider supporting us by becoming a member, renewing your membership, or making a donation. The Catholic Art Institute invites all artists, architects, art-lovers, students, scholars, and patrons of the art to join our vibrant and growing community of Catholic creatives and culture-changers. Join our mission to restore a culture of truth, beauty, and goodness through the elevation of the visual arts by becoming a member or donor today. Members directly support our unique programming which is crucial for the revitalization of the Catholic visual arts.

Visit us online at and join us on Facebook, Twitter, or, Instagram. To stay updated, subscribe to the CAI newsletter on our home page or simply share about us with friends, artists, or those who may be enriched by our efforts.

The CAI would like to thank the many members, patrons, organizations and individuals who have supported us through membership or attending our events, and we look forward to continuing to restore the sacred in the Catholic arts with forthcoming events, workshops and partnerships.


Attending Mass at SJC
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