Prayer of Dedication for the University of Utah Art and Architecture Center

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Editor’s Introduction:  On September 29, 1971, the University of Utah opened a new center for art and architecture.  Jack Adamson was asked to deliver a dedicatory address.  The following prayer is what he offered:

O God, first known to our fathers through the harmony and beauty of they creation; O God, who desired that our fathers should worship in the beauty of holiness, we ask this day thy blessing on our buildings which are dedicated to a continued search for the beautiful and the enduring.

Thy creative spirit is a winged and independent spirit, blowing where the wind listeth, and we who shall work or study here pray for the same independence of spirit, the freedom for each to express his personal vision. And then we ask for a greater freedom, that inner freedom that comes from an honest searching of ourselves. Let us be the first to know our own corruptions and evasions and surrenders.

Let us remember that the profoundest artistic visions have been built on love, that many of the noble dead whom we remember in the dedication of such a building burned with compassion for mankind and some with the pure, intense and intellectual love of God. We too wish to build our art on a base that resists time. Be to us, God of our fathers, the fire and the rain; stretch and shrink us; send us sweetness and pain and give us the courage to be vulnerable. What we are not, let us not pretend to be. What we are let us discover and express.

Thou has said that no building is sacred unless sanctity be brought to it; so we believe that this building matters little apart form the men and women who built it and who will use it. So bless our labors that in years to come it will be said that once the shadow of the divine wings fell upon this house, that men may feel awe and mystery and joy in what this building may become. We pledge our integrity and beseech thy grace; bless us now, Amen.

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