Regis professor's book takes on Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen to explore life’s enduring mysteries

July 11, 2019

chris pramuk

Chris Pramuk has always seen art as the best and most efficient way to answer some of the world’s most pressing questions.

When he brings that vision into the classroom, students don’t just pay attention. They retain it.

“I always say Langston Hughes said more in 12 lines about race in America than any Ph.D. dissertation on the subject has ever said,” said Pramuk, Associate Professor of Theology and Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination at Regis University.

Pramuk has recently put that philosophy into action through the publishing of his latest book, “The Artist Alive: Explorations in Music, Art and Theology.” The book explores the power of music, poetry and art to investigate some of life’s most pressing questions. It tackles the music of Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and the Indigo Girls (among others) to consider those deeper questions.

Pramuk is hosting a release party for the book at the Book Bar, 4280 Tennyson St., from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. There will be appetizers, drinks and a brief reading.

The book developed out of a class that Pramuk taught first at Xavier University and now teaches at Regis. The class takes famous artists and turns their music into case studies that help people understand the deep questions of human experience.

For instance, Pramuk looks at how Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” answers the question of how to practice empathy toward others. He also explores how Stevie Wonder addresses race dynamics and how the Indigo Girls address sexuality.

“I’ve tried to use music, poetry and art to help us explore some of life’s deepest questions,” Pramuk said. “Is God real? Where is God when people are suffering? How does spirituality and faith relate to sexuality and our desire for friendship and love? Can music and the arts give us insight into the complicated issue of race, or the environmental crisis we are facing? Over the years I’ve grown to see that the arts are a doorway into the human spirit, at once deeply personal and profoundly social.”

For more information about the book release party, visit the event webpage. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Regis has four campus locations in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs and extensive online program offerings with more than 11,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit www.regis.edu.