Nationally Acclaimed Artist Enhances ULu Sanctuary with Custom Sacred Art

Published on August 18th, 2017

University Lutheran commissioned Rick Rowley, an artist with international acclaim, to develop custom art and furniture for its new sanctuary. Working closely with ULu pastor Rev. Justin Herman, Rowley is creating several pieces of unique artwork to enhance the worship experience at ULu’s new location at 460 Northwestern Avenue. These custom pieces—made from alder and black walnut—include a hand-carved altar, cross, and pulpit; three pieces of carved wall art depicting the Stations of the Cross; and two large candlestick holders for the altar.

An artist specializing in three-dimensional designs, Rowley works in a wide variety of mediums, including bronze, exotic woods, glass, raw metal, and stone. His creations can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the world and have graced the halls of such notable clients as the late Leonard Nimoy, Andie MacDowell, and the Vanderbilt Estate.

“We are fortunate to have a connection with such an esteemed artist,” says Pastor Justin Herman, who is related to Rowley by marriage. “Everything that Rick is creating will be pointing to the gifts that God gives us through His supper and the preaching of His Word,” he says. “It’s all designed to tell the story of what we’ve come to receive.”

Creating sacred art is nothing new for Rowley. In fact, one of his very first carvings was a bust of Jesus, which he gave to his grandmother when he was just 14. Other Rowley sculptures featuring sacred subjects have made their way to universities, seminaries, and cemeteries across the country—and around the world.

“My Christianity has informed much of my sacred work,” says Rowley.

“We know that Jesus was a real man here on earth,” he says. “His life and death are chilling and admirable at the same time.”