University Libraries and Baylor Art Class Collaborate on Black Gospel Exhibit

April 25, 2018

WACO, Texas (April 19, 2018) – Baylor University Libraries and the Baylor Art Department are excited to announce the exhibit "Visions of Rapture," now on display in Moody Memorial Library.

In coordination with the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, this exhibit explores the process of providing an illustrated identity to a medium that is primarily known for its audio recordings. From the 1940s to the 1960s, American black gospel musicians recorded thousands of 45 RPM discs, often as one-off products that became the sole tangible evidence of years spent singing in church choirs, at gospel music festivals or under revival tents.

"Visions of Rapture started as an idea to get students involved with the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project that provided them with a tangible product for their portfolios" said Eric Ames, adjunct professor of Museum Studies. "Over the past three years, Visions of Rapture has given students a chance to express via art the feelings generated by listening to these important pieces of American cultural heritage."

The pieces in this exhibit were designed by students in ART 3333, taught by Professor Andrew Baker. They include a custom album jacket for 45 RPM discs obtained by the Black Gospel Restoration Project. These students were asked to draw their inspiration from the songs' lyrics, musical styles and scriptural references.

"This initiative is educational for both the student artists and the community. It is informative while honoring and preserving the history of the artists behind this collection," said Baker. "I hope viewers are inspired and gain valuable knowledge about the collection."

Visions of Rapture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Eric Ames at


Baylor University is embarking on the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project with director Robert Darden, an effort to preserve black gospel music recordings from the "golden age of gospel" from 1945-1975. To date the project has preserved over 3,600 records and was recently included as part of the standing exhibits in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.