LATROBE, PA – The Saint Vincent Gallery and the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery will both open new exhibits from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Both offer free admission for everyone, and beverages and light hors d’oeuvres will be offered that evening.

The Saint Vincent Neighborhood Trolley will offer complimentary shuttle service throughout the evening between the two exhibitions, while parking is available in Lot A, adjacent to the Fred M. Rogers Center.

The Saint Vincent Gallery exhibit, “A Hidden Wholeness – the Zen Photography of Thomas Merton,” pairs a selection of black-and-white photographs with excerpts of the writings of the Trappist monk, author and activist.  It is aimed at articulating Merton’s reverence for the present moment and his understanding that the mundane and spiritual are inseparably one. This past year marked the 50th anniversary of Merton’s death, yet his insights on the modern era remain as imperative as ever. Photographs by Merton are on loan from the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Rather than passively consume the rapid succession of images we are bombarded by every day, Merton’s photography acts as a visual reminder to slow down, linger over and reflect upon the world as it exists around us,” said Andrew Julo, Saint Vincent Gallery curator. “Within the monastic traditions of Saint Vincent, mindfulness and contemplation are methods of formation for all members of our community. This exhibit is an extension of that.”

The Saint Vincent Gallery is located on the third floor of the Robert S. Carey Student Center. Its hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., and Fridays through Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 724-805-2107. The Merton exhibit will be on display through March 8.

As a part of the opening reception, Dr. Paul Pearson, director of the Thomas Merton Center in Louisville, Kentucky, will give an overview of Merton’s growing interest in photography in the final decade of his life, exploring in particular Merton’s use of the phrase “Zen photography” and its relationship to his vision of the world. Pearson’s presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Fred M. Rogers Center, and all are welcome.

In addition to his duties as director of the Thomas Merton Center, Pearson serves as chief of research for the Morton Legacy Trust. He is resident secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society, and served as president for the 10th administration. He edited “Seeking Paradise: Thomas Merton and the Shakers,” “Thomas Merton on Christian Contemplation,” and the forthcoming book, “Beholding Paradise: The Photographs of Thomas Merton.” He received the 2018 John Brubaker Memorial Award of the Catholic Library Association and the 2017 James R. Bennett College English Association Award for Literature and Peace.

The Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery will present Common Threads: Weavers of Western and Central Pennsylvania. The exhibition features the work of 14 local weavers, as well as the history surrounding their lives and the lives of the people who purchased their work. More than 20 different coverlets will be shown, and the exhibit will continue through June 7.

“We chose to feature local weavers as a celebration of the planned opening this spring of a new education center at Hanna’s Town by our community partner, The Westmoreland County Historical Society,” commented Lauren Churilla, curator of the Coverlet Gallery. “The historical society has been a valuable asset to our community. We have worked very closely with them in the past and will continue to work closely in the future. All of our institutions contribute to and interpret the past and present of Westmoreland County, and we wanted to showcase local weavers as a tribute to the new building and to the continued work our community does in preserving the past and creating a better present and future.”

Situated on the first floor of the Fred M. Rogers Center, the McCarl Gallery is open noon to  4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings, and Saturdays and Sundays by appointment.

Opened in 2008, the McCarl Coverlet Gallery houses the lifetime collection of handmade American Jacquard woven coverlets of the late Foster and Muriel McCarl of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, which were a permanent gift to Saint Vincent College. Public exhibits of selections from the collection are shown throughout the year.  For further details call 724-805-2188.