The Verbrugges have always had rugs in their home. “You know the 1970s vintage-type Chinese rugs,” said Jim Verbrugge ’63. “Over time we bought some Persian rugs, which were good floor pieces.” It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that they became serious about collecting them though.

“We lost a son in 1995, and I had to find something to take an interest in,” said Verbrugge. “For some reason I drifted into rugs. I read a lot and started studying the various types and qualities.”

Since then, Jim and Marcia Verbrugge have gathered an extensive collection of fine rugs, some of which are on exhibit at the Calvin Center Art Gallery.

“Pathways to the Divine: Prayer Rugs of the Middle East” features 13 rugs from the Verbrugge collection—all prayer rugs, a special sub-group in the broad category of antique rugs.

“It’s essentially an art form,” said Verbrugge. “But I also hope people gain an appreciation of the notion of what a prayer rug means. We’re talking about a gentle form of Islam. It’s a study of another religion in an art form.”

The exhibit runs Sept. 6–Oct. 15, 2016.