students in class

The ISM Today

Since its founding in 1973, the Institute has grown from a group of three faculty and ten students to a community of well over 100 staff, faculty, students, and visiting scholars and artists. In addition to our longtime partnerships with the Yale School of Music and Yale Divinity School, our work extends to the departments of American Studies, Art History, Medieval Studies, Music, Religious Studies, as well as to various University collections and galleries. While most of our work remains grounded in Christian studies, a growing amount extends to music, ritual, and related arts of other religious traditions.

When the ISM was founded, our benefactors Mr. Miller and Mrs. Tangeman wrote these words to the University:

A peculiar danger of our own society is that so many of us are now so well off. The “do-it-yourself” society is in danger of developing a contempt for the minority of poor, and disadvantaged, and helpless. In recalling us to such concern and to the unpalatable truth that we save our lives only by losing them, the compassionate artist has often been the best preacher among us.

Since its establishment, the Institute has held to the conviction that the arts, especially the sacred arts, are much more than objects of aesthetic contemplation: They exist to articulate the innermost beliefs and principles by which people make sense of the world and their responsibility toward it. Our students graduate not only with knowledge gained and talents finely honed, but with a sense of values to shape the contributions they will make, and the lives they will lead.

ISM Annual Reports