Posts tagged ‘Creation’

April 12, 2012

Reaching Artists on a College Campus

From birth, we as humans experience interaction. This instinctive connection begins with the physical proximity of mother to child and evolves as we mature, into more complex communication and community.

            As an artist myself, I have noted and experienced over the years that artists and art observers alike, have a deep understanding of connection. They feel the need to connect deeply, communicating through imagery, sounds, words, and motion, to name a few. Often these expressions are very emotion-driven and the people that create or experience them take in the art as a coping mechanism, a way of analyzing and understanding their lives and the lives of those around them. Art is an avenue for self-knowledge and shared knowledge of self.

            What artists who do not know God miss, is the aspect of praise that is intrinsic to expression and the immediate awareness of God’s knowledge of one’s heart. All creation holds within it the function (read, desire) to praise and exalt something larger than us. Though without a personal relationship with Christ, this expression becomes twisted, resulting often in a shame of the passion they have or a wall of pride in the fact that non-artists do not understand how they communicate.

            Artists and art observers alike, feel a deep need to express and share what they feel within themselves– truth, pain, joy, love, observation, analysis. Out in the “real world,” artists may feel isolated and unable to find an outlet through which to share life. College campuses, though fleeting, offer a unique and precious haven of expression. Though campuses’ art programs may not always exhibit nurturing tendencies, they do offer a forum for exploration and communal learning. College is a quick, concentrated time of growth and self-investigation- a time where those crying out to be known and to be listened to constantly surround us.

            My mere two years of being an art major have made it evident that there is a deep appreciation between peers in art classes. Group creation and critiques force students to interact with one another, to engage in the content and form of the art that surrounds them, and to make relational bonds. What Christian artists and art observers should feel tugging on their hearts is a desire to share the love of Christ within these relationships. The focus should be on God’s gift of creation and passion within us, rather than self-worship and ephemeral things. After all, art is a form of praise, a deeply personal and often bodily expression of worship, not an end product. Art is not the goal; it is a glimpse of God’s heart peaking out of the way he made our personalities and our spirits.  

            I recently started attending a meeting specifically for artists to talk about God and spirituality. The fellowship of like-minded, deep-feeling persons has shown me just how important it is to immerse oneself in community and what a blessing it is that God makes people able to relate to one another and communicate in similar ways. God is not bound by language and thus understands each one of us. He is sensitive to how He made us to receive and process information, and does not leave us to “do life” singularly.

            This group of artists is an unexpected bunch, consisting of people that would perhaps not spend time with one another if it were not for the core desire to connect views on our most integral personality traits. Expression and appreciation of beauty and the call that God gives us to reach out to one another create a bond that is so far beyond the normal classmate relationship.

            So often, my dad tells me that college is a special phase of life in which I have access to time and community, more so than is likely after school. I agree with him and I feel like my prayer lately should be that I would reach out to the people God has put around me, people who feel and connect in similar ways, despite my circumstances, despite my selfish feelings.

            This week I urge you to be aware, daily, of where you are and whom you are with. I encourage you to take notice of the connections you are making and how God is leading you. Take full advantage of college, take full advantage of the relationships you have the opportunity to build, and most importantly, seek God’s heart and you will be able to grow in understanding of the spirits of the artists and art observers you encounter. Communication with God will spill over into every other aspect of your life, creating opportunities to be bold in your interactions. God will grow you, when you seek him and His heart for creation.

            “You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it.” Isaiah 45:8

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Kathleen is an art major in her second year at school. She really and truly is one of the most talented artists I know, but her passion for Jesus … Wow! It’s off the charts.

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