Artists from around the world to meet with Pope Benedict

.- In an effort to continue its promotion of the arts, the Pontifical Council for Culture is organizing a meeting of artists from around the world with Pope Benedict XVI on November 21.

The meeting will take place in the Sistine Chapel on the 10th anniversary of John Paul II's famous "Letter to Artists" and the 45th anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists.

At a press conference this morning at the Holy See's Press Office, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, spoke about the purpose of the upcoming meeting.

"The aim of the meeting," Archbishop Ravasi explained, "is to renew friendship and dialogue between the Church and artists, and to encourage new opportunities for collaboration."

Paolucci added that although the number of artists invited to the meeting is limited by the size of the Sistine Chapel, they hail from all continents. "They are," he said, "men and women of different cultures and languages ... painters, sculptors, architects, writers and poets, musicians and singers, directors and actors from cinema and theatre, dancers."

On the evening of November 20, before their meeting with the Holy Father on November 21, the artists will visit the Vatican Museums' collection of modern and contemporary art, which was created at the request of Pope Paul VI.

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