Jennifer Champoux presented the Book of Mormon Art Catalog Database featuring more than 2,000 works of art by 600 unique artists from around the world at BYU on October 5.
According to the catalog’s website, this database is “the most comprehensive catalog of Book of Mormon-inspired visual artwork,” featuring works from various art museums, galleries, and private collections around the world. In the catalog, visitors can browse works by subject, artist, style, location, scriptural reference, and date.
Jennifer Champoux is a Latter-day Saint visual arts specialist and director of this project, working alongside her with a team of student research assistants.
Champoux’s presentation was titled “Introducing the Book of Mormon Art Catalog: A Digital Database for Scholars and Saints.” During this presentation, she explained who the database is for, how to browse it, and what information people can find there.
Many BYU students attended this event, one of them being Isaac Neuenschwander. He said he was currently taking a course on the Book of Mormon and his teacher mentioned this event. When asked why he thought this database would be beneficial to Church members, Neuenshwander replied, “I think it might help lessons and teaching, you could go in and enter a work of art.
In the presentation, Champoux said she was writing a history of how Lehi’s dream was depicted in art and she thought “a collaborative repository for Book of Mormon art” would be helpful. She said she then created this database so that seminary teachers, students, scholars, artists, and others could more easily find Book of Mormon artwork from different time periods and geographic locations.
According to Champoux, viewers can view the work and learn interesting facts about the work and the artist. She said that part took a long time for her and the researchers.
When asked what his favorite part of this project was, Champoux said, “Honestly, my favorite part was working with other scholars and artists to help locate the art.” She added how generous many of these artists are in giving everyone “unprecedented access” to their works.
BYU student Grace Neuenschwander accompanied her brother to the event. She shared how she went to the BYU Museum of Art for one of her classes to view the artwork on display. She said there is often a deeper meaning to be found in gospel artwork.
“I like it because I feel like art can open you up to spiritual impressions you wouldn’t otherwise receive or interpretations of the gospel you just can’t get when you read or talk to someone else,” Neuenschwander said.
This database is now open to the public through the Book of Mormon Art Catalog website. Champoux said this is an open-ended project and they plan to continue adding more artwork to the database in the future.