The Archdiocese of Glasgow Arts Project was founded in 2006 by Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow and set up by arts practitioner, Stephen Callaghan. The establishment of the AGAP was a response to the need for an identifiable Christian Arts organisation within Glasgow, following the success of the Scottish premier productions of two plays written by Pope John Paul II directed by Stephen Callaghan.
These productions, which encouraged people of all faiths and none to come together and explore faith issues through the arts in a non-didactic way, sparked the incentive to launch further productions, creating new opportunities for people across the Archdiocese of Glasgow. This was coupled with a desire to reach out across the arts in general, supporting and encouraging those who, as artists, enrich our experience of life and our understanding of God as the creative Spirit behind all human endeavours.
AGAP was received with great enthusiasm from various arts professionals and public officials, including the Lord Provost of Glasgow at the time, Liz Cameron (currently Chair of Culture and Sport Glasgow). During its first year, the project showed great potential, producing a string of successful events and activities aimed at people of all ages and backgrounds.
In 2008, AGAP launched an annual arts festival with an underlying Christian-Catholic ethos, involving anyone from anywhere who would like to contribute to the cultural life of the Archdiocese of Glasgow. LENTfest: An Imaginative Fusion of Faith and the Arts, is the major artistic output of AGAP. It has involved people of many Christian Denominations (Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland, Episcopalian, Evangelical, etc) and other faiths (Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam) as performers and participants.
The output is varied and has included touring theatre productions, interactive film screenings, concerts (classical, folk, traditional, jazz, Christian, choral and plainchant), dance, poetry and music cafés, art exhibitions and educational arts events and activities involving schools. AGAP has worked with schools, higher education institutions, ecumenical organisations, world famous musicians such as James MacMillan, artists such as Peter Howson, film maker, Norman Stone and Screenwriter, Sergio Casci.
Throughout the year, AGAP continues to run arts events and activities and exists also as a channel for publicising arts events and activities happening throughout the Archdiocese of Glasgow.