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Lecture series frames Baha'i faith in art

STEVE MAYNARD; The News Tribune

A two-part lecture series on the Baha'i faith and how it is reflected in art, including the work of abstract painter Mark Tobey, will take place July 31 and Aug. 7 at the Tacoma Art Museum.

Series speaker Robert Wilson, a Baha'i religion and philosophy scholar of Kent, met Tobey and heard him lecture.

Tobey's paintings are on display as part of the museum exhibition, "Northwest Mythologies: The Interactions of Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson."

Tobey, a member of the Baha'i faith who lived in Seattle, spoke on several occasions in Tacoma about the Baha'i religion. He died in 1976 at age 85.

Wilson's first lecture in the series, "Baha'i Religion and Philosophy," will cover the history of the Baha'i faith and the cultural mysticism of the religion. His second lecture will address the religion's historical elements in art, focusing on Tobey's work, said Sarah Dillon, public programs coordinator for the Tacoma Art Museum.

Wilson said he will also talk about Tobey's involvement with Baha'i communities in Tacoma and Seattle.

"He was a very spiritual person, constantly searching different spiritual avenues," Wilson said. "Many of his paintings emphasized themes of the Baha'i faith."

Founded in Iran in the mid-19th century, the Baha'i faith teaches the unity of humankind and all religions as expressed in the prophets, including Jesus, Muhammad and ultimately Baha'ullah, the founder of the Baha'i religion. Baha'is - who number about 6 million worldwide - reject all prejudice and promote world peace, education and sexual equality.

Both lectures will begin at 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave. The cost for both lectures is $6 for museum members and $12 for nonmembers.

Museum admission is optional. For nonmembers, museum admission is an additional $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for seniors, military members and students.

Advance registration for the lectures is required by calling 253-272-4258, ext. 3007. Information is also available at

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647

©Copyright 2003, The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA, USA)

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