Look for the Helpers
The Art of Kelly Latimore
on view starting December 4, 2023
About the Exhibit
“If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.” —Mr. Rogers
This exhibit showcases the artworks of iconographer Kelly Latimore, a St. Louis-based artist who specializes in contemporary interpretation of the ancient tradition of sacred iconography.
The collection features more than 20 pieces that highlight Latimore’s two-way technique of depicting modern figures as traditional icons (such as Mr. Rogers, Maya Angelou, John Lewis and others) and of applying modern situations to ancient figures (such as the Holy Family as refugees or immigrants).
In 2022, the Cathedral commissioned Latimore to create a devotional portrait of gay rights icon Matthew Shepard, which is now part of the Cathedral’s permanent collection. The portrait depicts the slain college student with one hand over his heart in compassion, and the other extended in friendship.
Experience the Exhibit
Look for the Helpers: The Art of Kelly Latimore is open starting December 4, 2023. The exhibit is included with your General Sightseeing Admission. These sightseeing hours vary day-to-day to accommodate the wide range of activities and ministries offered at the Cathedral. You may arrive at any time during your ticket day’s open hours. The exhibit is located in the Observation Gallery on the 7th floor.
Latimore’s Approach to Iconography
Icons have a rich history in Christian tradition, particularly within Eastern Orthodoxy. They are an earthly portal to experience a bit of God’s divine presence. A golden halo signifies holiness, and body gestures and facial features take on additional meaning. Ears, mouths and hands can be de-emphasized to signal a sensory orientation towards things eternal, while eyes and foreheads might be exaggerated to signify heavenly vision or wisdom.
Latimore’s art depicts figures from contemporary and ancient history who can point us toward God, and who can serve as heavenly companions, or helpers, along the road to justice and compassion. When the world seems dark, “Look for the helpers,” Mr. Rogers reminds us. Latimore imagines what those helpers look like, and invites us to join the journey.
“I do not wish to approach iconography as an art form that simply follows an inherited tradition, knowledge, and practice,” Latimore says. “I want it to be a ‘holy pondering’, meditation, and process that potentially brings about a new way of seeing for the viewer and me. What is the artwork in our churches and communities for? Who are the saints that are among us here and now? Where is Christ present right in our own backyards?”