Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Exhibit Opening: a photo diary [the workshops]

Art Show on Main Opening
part 1: the workshops

Songwriting Workshop

the description:  two hours of both lecture, demonstration and 'workshopping' original music for anyone interested in learning and developing the skill of songwriting

the featured artists:  Brian Moss and Jason Harrod

the stats:  10 workshop participants ranging in age from 15 - [? who wants to claim to be the oldest in the room?]

Writing Workshop

the description:  an opportunity to talk with published authors about the technique of writing and being published; an opportunity to have an author read a writing sample for anyone interested in learning and developing the skill of writing fiction, non-fiction,  poetry

the featured artists: Dan Keohane and Kevin Lucia

the stats:  these two gracious men were busy for two hours talking with approximately 5 aspiring writers, answering questions and critiquing writing samples (including one of yours truly!)

excerpts that inform Art Show on Main:  David Taylor, Diary of An Arts Pastor,  March 29,  2006 

[he is speaking about his ministry at Hope Chapel, Austin, TX] "Why do we care so much about the arts? Is it just a personality quirk of Hope's--that because we're a creative bunch we do what we like most, artsy-fartsy stuff? Is it our way of reaching Austin? Is it a way to keep up with a media-saturated culture? It's a strange ministry to sustain, I confess, for such a small church. So why? Why do we do this? 

Well all of us live with an old intuition about the way our world ought really to be. We have an old memory, a memory that gnaws at our subconscience. It's a memory of our first home, the Garden of Eden. Our forefather and mother were born into a home that none of us can accurately imagine. We can approximate it with metaphors and inventive analogies. But this side of eternity we cannot fully appreciate how absolutely beautiful it was. We can simply feel, deeply, achingly, frustratingly, the longing for that beauty.

So one of the things that we as a church can do is to release the artists among to serve us with artistic offerings that cultivate in us a habit of beauty. Such art keeps our souls alive to the Beauty of God. Such art, more to the point, brings us into an intimateknowledge of God. It simultaneously awakens hunger and nourishes us with the deep things of heaven. Such art requires no justification. For by inviting us to savor the presence of God artists perform a service which is an end in itself: the joy of Beauty and the desire for God.

By beauty of course I don't necessarily mean pretty or lovely or pleasant, although they can be this. By beauty I include things that can be disturbing and controversial. Is not the cross of Christ both beautiful and scandalous? Beautiful things can be strange, like the sounds of a sitar. Beautiful things can be terrible, like the leviathan or the Venus Flytrap. And they can also be enrapturing and too much for our small souls to absorb, like Beethoven's masterful 9th symphony.

But back to Hope. By producing works of art for the community artists can rouse within us this old memory of great beauty. And the arousing is not just of feelings, it is an arousing that builds and strengthens and releases the community to become more fully the people of God: more humble, more alive, more generous and just and fearless in the face of evil. By hanging art on the walls or by interpreting the Gospel through dance or architecture or film, we're not simply entertaining ourselves. We're not simply being "relevant." We're being what we're supposed to be apart from any secondary utility or benefit.

And it is when we are this way, beauty-filled, beauty-overflowing, that we will become most attractive! Because it is then that we will become most like our true selves--persons created in the image of a beautiful God who makes for us a beautiful home, "good for food and pleasant to the eyes," for which all human beings are looking for a way to return to, the return to paradise."

Did you participate in the writing or songwriting workshop?  Post your thoughts and learnings and experience in the comment section.

*Thanks to Hope Spicer for all of her hard work archiving the event through photographs and for so graciously sharing them with us!*
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