Biola University experienced an evening full of the arts on Saturday, February 19, beginning with High Tea at Talbot School of Theology and ending with the conservatory’s last evening performance of their opera, Dialogue of the Carmelites. In between these two events was the official gallery opening of the exhibit Twentieth-Century British Art from the Ahmanson Collection.

Twentieth-Century British Art engaged the Biola University 2011-2012 theme of “Sanctuary & Sacred Space” through exploring the role of Christianity in visual art throughout the 20th century in Great Britain. A major goal of the exhibition is to focus on deepening an understanding of the vital role the visual arts and beauty played in shaping human experience and awareness of the sacred in this landmark century. The exhibition includes major paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture by some of the most important and beloved 20th century British artists, including Stanley Spencer, Eric Gill, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra, and Graham Sutherland.

Curator Lyrica Taylor, Biola’s Visionary-in-Residence Roberta Ahmanson, Biola President Barry H. Corey, and Biola Assistant Professor of Arts Jonathan Anderson were all featured speakers at the opening. Corey spoke on how the featured collection was a catalyst of “art influencing art” on campus, deliberating on how he had often come across a symphony member playing their instrument in the gallery, inspired by the surrounding artwork.

Ahmanson introduced her collection of work, educating the audience on the time period in which these pieces were created. The emotions of “sorrow and pain” reflect the period in which the art was created, between two wars in the 20th century. Ahmanson noted that she “liked the work because of the sparseness.”

Taylor educated the attendees historically on each of the pieces and their creators. During the time she spent curating the exhibit, she was “fascinated by the mid-century period artwork” and especially that of the featured artist, Stanley Spencer, who had three works in the gallery. The artists featured were from a variety of religious backgrounds, bringing diversity and depth.  

At the conclusion of the program, attendees were given the opportunity to tour the gallery and discuss the art pieces over tea in the lounge area. Bon Appétit catered the event with hors d’oeuvres and desserts, as well as a variety of hot teas.

The gallery will be featured until Saturday, March 10.

Written by Ashleigh Fox, Media Relations Intern For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or at