Giving gratitude to the founders and benefactors of the Sacred Arts Institute

Author: 
Ted Bazil

Giving gratitude to the founders and benefactors of the Sacred Art Institute at St. Vladimir’s Seminary:
In honor of Drs. Frank and Alcides Kulik

Much has been publicly reported about the ongoing work toward the Institute of Sacred Arts (ISA) at St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVOTS). It would be remiss, however, not to credit the founders of the Institute for their vision and the receipt of their $250,000 gift in 2013. 

Drs. Frank and Alcides KulikDrs. Frank and Alcides KulikThe founders are an Orthodox Christian couple, Drs. Frank and Alcides Kulik, who have been faithful donors to the Seminary and other institutions and churches for many years.  They decided at that time—following lengthy conversations with the Seminary’s Office of Advancement and administration—to take a bold and sacrificial step and help create an Institute of Sacred Arts with their donation. They have dedicated much of their lives to beautifying Orthodox churches and collecting and preserving sacred liturgical objects. These good works culminated in Kulik’s desire to articulate a vision for the Institute and to find a home for it at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

Their initial donation was intended to establish an endowment to pay for expenses associated with the academic and practical teaching of Church arts in iconography, iconography, mosaics, architecture, carving, stone and wood work, glass, stitching, and other sacred art disciplines. Disbursements from the endowment’s earnings have helped to fund the annual salary of an adjunct professor, courses in iconography, and other summer programs for the practice and training of iconographers. Their intention and hope was that other funding would be obtained and that their endowment would grow and eventually provide permanent funding to hire a full-time professor. This endowment would provide funds to sponsor annual seminars and courses, provide for the publication of books and media, and to include the teaching of the sacred arts as part of Seminary curriculum and degree work.

This initial gift created a permanent endowment, and it has helped convince other individuals and foundations about the importance of the sacred arts and to donate to this grand idea.  After the Seminary applied for a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in 2018, the Foundation recognized the extent of the Seminary donors’ support and commitment. This support helped in part to pave the way for the Luce Foundation to award its grant funding to the Seminary for the sacred arts.  It is noteworthy to add that in 2017 another devoted friend of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, who also supports the same vision behind the Institute, donated a significant gift of $500,000 for a permanent endowment referred to as the Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky Endowment for the Sacred Arts.

At this time and with the direction of the founders, the Seminary is now able to honor these founders and benefactors and their donations. St. Vladimir’s Seminary is also now able to publicly pay them gratitude for their remarkable gifts. The founders also intend to provide in their estate an intention to create a named and fully funded faculty chair for the Sacred Arts.

St. Vladimir’s Seminary is well positioned to house and operate the Institute. For eighty years the faculty of SVOTS has taught practical, technical, cultural, historical, and the theological aspects of music and iconology within the core curriculum and elective courses. SVS Press has extensively published works on the Orthodox Church arts.  Virtually no other seminary or divinity school integrates the arts into their teaching of subjects with the consideration of how art, music, and aesthetic experience function in liturgy and prayer life.

Endowment gifts are recorded as restricted for the specific purpose of the endowment. The principal is generally left whole and the annual earnings are used for the intended purpose of the fund.  If you are interested in supporting any of these endowments or contributing to the important ongoing work of the Sacred Arts at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, please contact Ted Bazil, CFRM, Senior Advisor for Planned Gifts.