Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Are You in a Christian Artist Group?

Say what? A Christian artist group? You mean, like the St. Peter and Paul Painting and Pancake Club? Sure, why not? (for you adventurous sorts, here's a recipe for Hungarian pancakes).

Ours is called "Lively Arts." Not so much in the pancake department, but there are usually enough sweet snacks to overdo our blood sugar levels.

Essentially, we're a group of artists of all flavors gathering monthly. We are serious about doing our craft well, understanding the greater aspects of art, and integrating our art and our faith.

I'm a writer; my art is poetry. There are a few other writers. Mostly, though, we are visual artists. This includes painting, but also, we have stained glass window folks, photographers, a calligraphy expert, someone making those huge banners you see in churches, and many more.

We cover the gamut of denominations: I attend a Bible church, but we've got Pentecostals, Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians and others. The focus is on Jesus Christ, so if that's where the person's at, then great.

As Jim Croce once sang, "If you're walking my way, I'll walk with you." Croce's song otherwise doesn't relate, but I like it.

We'll talk about events in art, like a local gallery showing, discuss hard questions of faith/art (like symbolism and abstraction), pray, and show-and-tell. It isn't Sunday school, nor is meant to be. Rather, we're just trying to learn what it means to be an artist and a Christian without compromising either, with God always at the top.

Sometimes we do a hands-on project. While, as I mentioned, visual arts are not my thing, I could appreciate the glory of God in a deeper way after working on snowflake cutting (serious stuff here -- this isn't what you did in first grade with the dull scissors).

I learned, for example, the creative process Tim Botts followed when developing a large commissioned calligraphic design is much the same as what I follow when writing a 10-line poem for Decision Magazine. I heard that others deal with apathy, discontent and frustrations, and shared in the joy of seeing the published book of one of members.

Tell me about your group. Give me the low-down, with ideas and contact info (if it is an open group).


Susan in Rockford IL said...

How did your group get started? I'm really looking for something like this in my area, and it may be up to me to get it going, so I'd love to hear your group's "genesis story"!

Resilient Hawk said...

Hi Susan,

I'm relatively new, having joined around two years ago (Or one? The Monday morning coffee is still kicking in). Lively Arts began in 1997 as a visual arts group, but has expanded to include the writing arts, as well as other forms. I asked Tim Botts, calligrapher, helped found the group, to address your question:

A new employee in our art department at Tyndale House Publishers [where Tim design books covers] from out of state asked me how she could meet other Christian artists in the area. Since we work with freelance illustrators and photographers, we had the contacts to start a group, so we invited about 60 people and 50 of them came to a kick-off lunch at Wheaton College. We had tables set up to share portfolios and brought in an art director from Chicago to speak.

That was eleven years ago!


Tony said...

Susan, I'm just checking in. Did you start a group?

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