Art of Interfaith Understanding

2022 Series

In the winter and spring of 2022, we offered six Art of Interfaith Understanding tour dates with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Each of three, unique tours was offered in its entirety on two separate dates and times so as to accommodate the diverse schedules of our participants.


All programs were guided by Rev. John B. Hougen, PhD, a consultant with Interfaith Philadelphia and a volunteer guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  These programs were co-sponsored by Interfaith Philadelphia & the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Division for Community Engagement.

Due to current restrictions on group tours at the Philadelphia Museum of Art all upcoming tours will be offered virtually.


Interfaith Philadelphia offers a sliding scale fee structure for our programs in order to welcome all from our community who wish to attend.  Please click here for guidance that will help you determine the right fee for you, between $10-$50, with $20 as the adjusted standard cost.

If you have any questions or want to be among the first to hear about our next art series, please contact John at

Race and Faith: Discovering Ourselves and Others While Viewing Art

Sunday, February 20

2:00 – 3:30 PM


Thursday, February 24

7:00 – 8:30 PM


White Crucifixion, 1938, Marc Chagall French, born Vitebsk, Russia (present-day Belarus), 1887–1985
Oil on canvas 60 7/8 x 55 1/16 in.) 
Gift of Alfred S. Alschuler, 1946.925
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / ADAGP, Paris 
The Art Institute of Chicago

Each person’s unique background provides “lenses” through which the world is perceived. During our time together, we will respond to three works of art that were created to reflect the artists’ faith and / or racial identities. Our goal will be to discover the richness of insight and mutual understanding that will come as we share our varied responses to these images.

Graven Images: Prohibitions against Image Making and the Art of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Sunday, April 3

2:00 – 3:30 PM


Thursday, April 7

7:00 – 8:30 PM


Moses and the Burning Bush And 
Moses Removing His Shoes

Attributed to Dierick Bouts the Elder,
Netherlandish c. 1415 – 1475,
Date: c. 1465-1470,
Medium: Oil on panel,
Credit Line: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,) all support the making of art that conveys sacred truths. At the same time, all three traditions have passages in their sacred texts that forbid making graven images. Within each of the three traditions there are competing interpretations of the relevant texts, resulting in a variety of artistic practices among devotees of each tradition. Looking at art from the three traditions, we will come to a greater appreciation of the variety of ways art and faith intersect, while noting similarities and differences among the Abrahamic faiths.


For this tour, Rev. Hougen will be joined by two co-presenters: Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell and Asheq Fazlullah

An Illustrated Christian Liturgy

Sunday, May 15

2:00 – 3:30 PM


Wednesday, May 18

7:00 – 8:30 PM


Saint Mary Magdalene Preaching

Master of the Magdalene Legend

c. 1500-1520

Philadelphia Museum of Art

John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

On Zoom, we will move through the traditional order of worship as celebrated in liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, etc.). Each portion of the liturgy will be accompanied by great works of art inviting our contemplation and conversation. Curious participants from other  faith traditions and Christians who worship differently are invited to observe, ask questions, and make comments to help all come to greater interfaith understanding.


This program is part of our brand new Leadership Institute of Interfaith Philadelphia, home for all things professional / personal development.

The Institute includes all of the workshops that you know and love, plus new opportunities to explore, learn, and practice!