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ArtReach — Revealing What We Know Of Another Dimension, True Creativity

March 1st, 2010 · Tags:Arts · Wi-Fi

To fund the PingWi-Fi travel blog, I also do dirty gigs in the disaster recovery industry … with much less fanfare than the “Dirty Jobs” guy on TV — I might add. Each trip gives me some pretty good stories to blog from the road … cuts … bruises … etc. But, a recent trip was memorable for the return home and the driver who picked me up at the airport.

Unknowingly, the driver commented on my church as we passed. (It’s “walking distance” from my house.)

“Now why did they have to build such a big new church here?”

I think I responded kindly, mentioning that if he looked toward the end of the property, he would see a tiny, simple brick structure. It’s the original sanctuary that has been in the neighborhood for decades – the building our church bought from another congregation in our infancy. It was about 20 years later that we built the bigger, more aesthetic sanctuary that is now visible from Interstate 30.

“We didn’t really invade the neighborhood. We’ve been here a long time and finally built a new sanctuary to take care of all the people,” I said. The church has grown because people have been drawn to what is going on inside, and the structure was a necessity.

He nodded, with a new appreciation … I could tell.

I wonder what the good-natured old chauffeur would have thought of yesterday’s sermon and activities. The church sponsored its annual ArtReach Sunday, featuring a showing of the talented artists who just happen to attend the church. It was all about the visual expression of what really goes on inside and beyond the walls, for that matter — glorifying God.

The sermon, of course, was tied in with the artistic theme … a message about the ultimate in creativity — God giving us Jesus Christ in the flesh.

In the sermon, the pastor asked “When you think of creativity and diversity, (these days ) how often do you think of a church?” He quickly emphasized that ArtReach isn’t about bragging rights … But, that the approach is fairly unique.

I concur.

For the art history buffs out there, a key element of the sermon was when the pastor shared some of his research on Vincent Van Gogh who was at times misunderstood, even persecuted, for his faith. Van Gogh’s talents were displayed in vibrant photos as The Raising of Lazarus and Starry Night were shown on the big screens of the modern sanctuary.

I think you would like the insight into Van Gogh and the message: ArtReach, Sermons

Years ago — I will never forget — one of our pastors delivered an inspiring sermon, as he spun a potter’s wheel and threw clay into the shape of a vase, pencil-holder of some other minor masterpiece. The imagery was so excellent — the ol’ potter/clay/vessel motif direct from Scripture. (The education wing of our church is named for that pastor, a great man, who has gone on to Heaven … as some readers will know … )

Why all this art in church? Was it to focus on ourselves and the cool things we can do? Oh contrare … just the opposite.

The message was that creativity by definition comes from God, and that man’s art — at least appropriate art — is the conveyance of what we see of another dimension … the spiritual realm.

So what about the more contemporary artists on display?

First off, as the congregation sang, there was a speed painter on the side of the stage who painted what appeared to be a large piece of abstract art … which he rotated 180 degrees at the finish to reveal it was actually an over-sized portrait of The Savior. Pretty cool.

Outside, the lobby or “Great Room,” was laid out like a gallery with still life paintings, sculptures, abstracts, portraits, photos, classical music … a little bit of everything.

This is my quick, (and characteristically quirky) sampling in words and photos:

One of the artists is fairly well known around town — one Ron Cheek. I give his name because it has puzzled me for several years. I know there are actually two Ron Cheeks in our church, but I don’t know if they are related. And confession time: every time I think about this I want to make “turn-the-other-Cheek” jokes … Forgive me … and apologies to our two Ronnies.

I digress …

Another piece of art just may have been stolen from my local Starbucks. Well not really, just kidding … Here’s the deal. A young photographer currently has her work on display at Starbucks down the street. And recently, no sooner had she hung her photos at the coffee shop — that I noticed one photo disappeared. Aha! Yesterday I found it … hanging in the church collection. Good stuff. I am also envious that her name (Hannah) is the same spelled backwards and forwards … How many people can say that?

Another artist — in my opinion one of the best in show — flies around the country when she is not painting … with her family’s helicopter charter company, providing services at NASCAR events … probably some interesting “beautiful people” stories there …

Probably all kinds of good stories among the entire group …

Bottom line … all of this creativity and the message of truth and inspiration combined would make anyone want to participate. (I had thought about submitting one of my photos in advance … but backed out.)

Then it occurred to me during the sermon, that some people consider blogging an art. Maybe it could be a way for me to participate or contribute, albeit non-juried. You know … I guess if done for the right reason, one might even consider blogging as worship …

Well … my blogs typically are less worthy … but it is what it is …

My “genre” of blog often combines art, culture and whatever … along with my passion — Wi-Fi … So what the heck … I decided to write about ArtReach. After the 9:15 service and before the 5 o’clock service I slipped back in … took a bunch of photos … and YES … snooped around a bit for Wi-Fi.

Ha … I have been at this church for 20+ years and I am still sneaking around … LOL. Guess what! … Yes .. This artsy place of worship not only has its own coffee shop, built-in … there is a guest Wi-Fi network. I picked it up outside the door with my iPhone, as I sat perched on my bicycle … my creative needs met for the day.

Call it my sinful nature … I may have sneaked one of my photos into this blog too.

Know what I sayin?