The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 20, 2001 Issue

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Wisconsin Public Television does its viewers a disservice by not scheduling 'The Face'

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

During April, public television viewers across the nation are being treated to The Face: Jesus in Art. This two-hour program shows how art attempts to comprehend and touch the divine in depicting the human Christ.

That is, public television viewers everywhere but Wisconsin are able to enjoy The Face: Jesus in Art. In our state, because of "time constraints," the programming department at Wisconsin Public Television "felt that this program would not be the best use of our air time at the present."

That despite the generous support the state's overwhelmingly Christian population provides Wisconsin Public Television through taxes and individual donations.

In a review of The Face: Jesus in Art, Gerri Pare, director of the U.S. Catholic Conference Office for Film and Broadcasting, says the program is "never less than visually stunning" as it visits locations around the world to examine artistic representations of Jesus throughout the ages.

The program received major funding from the Catholic Communication Campaign, which also helps support the work of the Office for Film and Broadcasting.

Pare says "the opening special-effects montage, starting with cosmic images that gradually morph into the eyes, then many faces of Christ, is simply beautiful to behold. This visual morphing technique is judiciously used to capture how Christ was seen in different cultures, centuries and periods of art."

Besides showing how Jesus has been depicted from the third century to now, the program asks whether it is even proper for an artist to dare to portray God.

Shown are paintings, sculptures, icons, mosaics and frescoes of Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Michelangelo, as well as works by many lesser known artists.

But sadly, the only Wisconsin station carrying the program is the public station in Milwaukee, which is not affiliated with Wisconsin Public Television.

Wisconsin Public Television owes its public - its viewers and supporters - more. Write or phone them urging them to show The Face: Jesus in Art. The address is Wisconsin Public Television, 821 University Ave., Madison WI 53706; e-mail [email protected]; or phone 1-800-422-9707.

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