Dan Dakotas, SCL Associate, considers art the first language a person speaks and believes that there are strong connections between art and spirituality. Dan – educator, artist, metalsmith, photographer and prison ministry volunteer – spoke to a group of 50 Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLs) and Associates during a presentation at the Mother House in Leavenworth on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Recounting his story, Dan said that art has always been part of his life. He grew up in Beacon, N.Y., and described art museums as the playgrounds of his youth. “I loved art then; I love it now,” he added.

Throughout his presentation at the SCL Mother House, Dan shared his religious art and discussed the various techniques and media he uses. He displayed crucifixes and images of Christ, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Joseph and St. Oscar Romero that he has created. He has a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe whose image he has frequently represented in his art. It’s Dan’s practice never to sell his Guadalupe artworks but rather to give them as gifts.

Dan encouraged his audience to be aware of the environment around them and to look for prayers in nature. “There’s beauty everywhere,” he said. “Attune your eye to it. Look at light, shadow, and lines. Look at the small things in everyday life and let these little treasures become a prayer. Walk with an eye to see – you’ll never be the same after this experience.”