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 if you would like to be involved.  


Here are some examples of disciplines 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.  Specific 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 30-40 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 Syllabus and Bibliography


Sessions 1 and 2

Courage and Creativity 

     - Creation as Encounter

     - Creation and Death

     - Recovering a Sense of Identity 


Session 3

Anxiety and Creativity 

     - Non-being and Being (Ilia Delio)

     - Art and Fear

     - Emptiness (Rumi)

     - Recovering a Sense of Safety

     - Recovering a Sense of Compassion


Session 4

Freedom and Creativity

     - Spirit (Berdyaev) 

     - Receptivity (Rilke)

     - Emptiness (Rumi)

     - The Ground (Meister Eckhart)

     - Recovering a Sense of Power


Session 5 and 6

Actuality ("Nature") and Creativity

     - The Tao and Zen (Watts)

     - Evolution and the Birthing of God (Delio)

    - The Ordinary (Rilke)