The Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City seem an appropriate venue for the Rev. Malcolm Neyland to invite the rest of the world to view Lubbock's Vatican fresco exhibit.
"Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums Collection" will be presented at the Museum of Texas Tech June 2 through Sept. 15.
"Bishop George Niederauer of Salt Lake City showed total openness to promote and encourage people to attend the exhibit here in Lubbock," said Neyland, who was in Salt Lake City just before the games started to set up three hospitality suites with information about the exhibit.
"I was pleasantly surprised to see the tremendous amount of hospitality, cooperation and desire to promote this exhibit for the state of Texas in a magnanimous, magnificent way," Neyland said.
The hospitality suites for the athletes and those attending the games are open seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day. One suite is at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in downtown Salt Lake City. Another is at the Olympic Village, and the third is at the Neumann Center at the University of Salt Lake City.
Volunteers are manning the hospitality suites. A 24-page guide about the exhibit by the Avalanche-Journal, posters, the Vatican exhibit Christmas ornament and pins with the Vatican exhibit logo are among the items available.
Other Vatican Exhibit 2002 Foundation marketing activities include:
Advertising in diocesan newspapers of neighboring states.
Commercial for region aired during Super Bowl game.
Advertising to tour directors.
Producing 30-minute documentary for Public Broadcasting Service to be shown locally, regionally and offered nationally. Dave Campbell, executive producer; Sally Post, writer and producer; Ralph Shelton, writer; narrator, John Boles.
A second media trip to Rome April 8 with invitations to metropolitan media and art magazines.
Internet sites or links
Neyland began dreaming 14 years ago about the possibility of bringing an exhibit of art from the Vatican's collection to West Texas. His persistence was rewarded.
Now, the challenge is to make sure the world knows about this unique exhibit, which is financed by the Vatican Exhibit 2002 Foundation, headed by Neyland.
He cited the foundation's Diplomatic, International, National and State Outreach Committee for its work in coordinating plans for any civic dignitaries who may want to attend the exhibit.
John Armour, marketing director for Lubbock Conven-tion and Visitors Bureau, said his group prepared a Vatican VIP certificate booklet that will be sent to people who have ordered tickets and live outside the 806 area code.
The booklet encourages them to visit other sites in Lubbock and the area, including the Apple Country-Hi Plains Orchard at Idalou, Armour said. Also included are hotel coupons for discounts. "We're doing several things, some in conjunction with the Vatican foundation," he added.
The visitor's bureau and the foundation joined with the Science Spectrum to purchase a half-page ad in an April edition of Texas First, a newspaper insert with more than a million circulation in the Southwest area.
"We're evaluating a couple of other things," Armour said.
"We have also marketed to tour operators to bring in tour buses through a trade publication called Courier magazine," he added.
Bishop Placido Rodriguez, who made the official request to the Vatican for the exhibit, said he is not accustomed to thinking in terms of marketing. But as spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lubbock, he will do his part in preparing the diocese for the Vatican art treasures.
Nevertheless, he recognizes that the impact of the event goes beyond the church, embracing the history of art and Christianity.
"The ecumenical universality of art appeals to the best of the human person," the bishop said.
Religious art reaches the highest level of achievement, communicating with the nonreligious as well as the religious, Rodriguez noted.
Another of his tasks is to get the word out about the exhibit among his fellow bishops throughout the country. Some had thought they might get the exhibit to come to their areas but learned it is not a traveling exhibit.
"The Amarillo Diocese is going to do its Eucharistic Congress, and the bishops will be coming over here Aug. 23 (to see the exhibit)," Rodriguez said.
Amarillo Bishop John Yunta will bring at least three cardinals to visit the museum Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Rivera Suarez of Monterrey, Mexico, and Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras.
"Obviously there will be others in the diocese from across the country," Rodriguez said, explaining that he has set up The Diocese of Lubbock Pilgrims' Task Force to assist visitors.
The Catholic Renewal Center at Fourth Street and Toledo Avenue will serve as the Pilgrim Resource Center. It is about a mile west of the Museum of Texas Tech.
Marketing within the diocese includes educating members of Catholic parishes and schools about the exhibit.
"We have to put our house in order and give them the opportunity to prepare themselves for the exhibit," Rodriguez added. He will tell priests in the diocese that "we need to translate the excitement into some organized activity."
Beth Pratt can be contacted at 766-8724 or firstname.lastname@example.org