Poiema is an interdisciplinary, interfaith artist fellowship that is sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Student Center at Iowa State University.  It is a collective of both student and professional artists who meet regularly throughout a cohort year for discussion and support on what it means to be an artist who is also a person of faith, yet who desire to work and dialogue in the contemporary context of the global arts community.  Both student and professional artists in the collective collaborate for a thematic showing of their work in the Ames/Iowa State University community once per cohort year. 


Poiema Fellows

All accepted student artists who apply are considered Poiema Fellows and are paid a $50 honorarium for their work in the collaborative showing.  



Student artists apply here


Professional artists, please contact Eric Evans at eric@staparish.net with a pdf copy of your CV if you would like to be involved.

The Poiema Fellowship defines a professional artist in this context by three major criteria:

1) A weekly dedication (approximately) to the cultivation of creating original material for at least half of a yearly cycle.* 

2) At least one relevant accredited degree in your discipline (or commensurate experience).

3) An output of original material, and contribution to your field within the last 3 years. 


*This is a general rule to be applied by asking the question: Do I posses a regular, dedicated rhythm in my life of the cultivation of my craft? 


Here are some examples of disciplines (both student and professional) accepted: 

Visual Arts (sculpture, ceramics, textiles, painting, drawing, design, photography, etc.)  




Music Composition 


Any discipline wherein the artist is dedicated to their craft and is creating original material


Required Dates and Commitment 

Commitment can be broken down into three parts:  Meeting Commitment, Reading Commitment, and Work Commitment.


Meeting Commitment:

Poiema will meet once per month as a group throughout the academic year.  Meeting content will be in two parts: 1) Discussion (see below for general discussion topics) and 2) Presentation of each individual artist's work to the group for constructive critique, feedback, and encouragement.  Specific meeting dates coming soon. 


Reading Commitment:

Readings - to be read before each meeting - will be used as discussion material during the meetings.  (See below for a general outline of discussion/reading material).  Readings generally will be about 20-30 pages each month. 


Work Commitment:

The interdisciplinary showing of our work will be held sometime in the Spring after Spring Break (specific date coming soon).  Commitment to complete work displayed/performed in the showing is expected throughout the year at your own pace.  



General Discussion Plan


Courage and Creativity (Rollo May)

     - Creation as Encounter

     - Creation and Death

     - Recovering a Sense of Identity (Julie Cameron)


Anxiety and Creativity 

     - Non-being and Being (Ilia Delio)

     - Art and Fear (Bayles and Orland)

     - Emptiness (Rumi)

     - Recovering a Sense of Safety (Cameron)

     - Recovering a Sense of Compassion


Freedom and Creativity

     - Spirit (Berdyaev) 

     - Receptivity (Rilke)

     - Emptiness (Rumi)

     - The Ground (Meister Eckhart)

     - Recovering a Sense of Power (Cameron)


"Nature" and Creativity

     - The Tao and ZaZen (Watts)

     - Evolution and the Birthing of God (Delio)

    - The Ordinary (Rilke)