Imagine a world without poetry, dance, song, comedy, film,
architecture, painting, stories, symphonies, theater or sculpture. Such a
world would be bland. Art brings vibrance and beauty to our lives.
Creativity is both a fully human and fully divine experience. It is an
acknowledgement that something eternal and full of truth lies behind the
temporal world in which we live. It focuses our eyes on the pain around
us, the injustice in front of us, the joy abounding within us, and the
pull we feel towards meaning and significance. Music moves us. Poetry
connects us. Paintings shout at us. Dance energizes us. Art draws us
back into the fold of humanity when we wander out full of pain,
discouragement, and bitterness. It whispers, “You are not alone.” 

In today’s society though, real art is slowly becoming less and less
present. Our generation experiences art as a constant stream of
marketing. Creativity is now harnessed to push product. When we only
experience art in advertisements, web-sites, brands and logos, we lose
the invaluable ways that it helps us understand who we are and what life
is all about.

In his book Why We Hate Us, Dick Meyers explains that, “too
much money is at stake to waste it on opera, artsy mini series, and
literary novels. In entertainment, capital flows not just to top
performers but to the top genres or styles, reducing the money and
airtime available to other forms of entertainment. The popular forms
take a disproportionate share of available resources, so demand for high
culture wanes.”

Modern culture has forgotten that art is worthy without first having to prove it’s worth.

In a system that values prestige and monetary success as the ultimate
goal, the artist is slowly beginning to fade. To survive, artists must
strive for success; even though that is not why they originally create.
They create because they feel, because there is a message to share or an
idea to express. Soon though, creativity demands more materials, time,
space, and funding; it becomes costly. If an artist is lucky enough to
succeed, he or she usually struggles deeply with the fact that success
dictates their art becoming a fad that requires mass approval. This fad
only ever demands newer and better material which leaves the artist
exhausted from trying to produce, produce, produce.

Humanity is losing a vital connection to God and to our souls when
the arts begin to become unworthy in society. In order to prevent this
from happening, there needs to be action. We are all responsible to
change things.

So what can you do?

Explore Artistic Pursuits in Your Daily Life

We all enjoy creative expression in some shape or form. Find out what
this means to you and carve out time to do it. Creativity can mean
refinishing furniture, sculpting a bush, trying a new recipe, even
working passionately at science or math. Support art within your
community by buying tickets to the ballet or symphony, checking out a
local art show, entering a writing contest, painting a mural, starting a
band, singing at church, drawing on the sidewalk, organizing community
dance lessons, or simply donating funds to an artist you know or
creative organization you love. And buy original artwork! Most artists
now offer smaller pieces at really reasonable prices.

Bring Creativity to Your Workplace

Art can also be important in the business world. Creativity and
passion are becoming more and more necessary to companies who desire
imaginative and innovative ways of doing business. Seth Godin, the
author of Purple Cow: Transforming Your Business By Being Remarkable says,
“I call it the [new] art system. People doing work that matters,
feeling human about it, feeling connected, and making an impact.
Companies now want their employees to step up and do something
interesting.”  Perhaps it’s time for you to start thinking outside the
box and getting in touch with your creative side at work. It may help
you stand apart in your current job or gather the courage to go after
your dream position.

Help Your Church Engage Artists

The Christian church needs to realize they are losing artists as
well. 1 Corinthians: 25-26 presents a model for churches where all
different types of people are integrated into the community, “The way
God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together
as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we
mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t.
If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the
healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the
exuberance.” (The Message)

So how can churches re-incorporate artists when many of them feel
that in order to have their art welcomed in church, it needs to look all
cute and flannel-graphy? Christian churches seem to censor so much, but
forget that historical Christian art displayed naked people, bloody
scenes, and crosses. Congregations could be much more welcoming by
actually allowing creative artwork to be displayed.

Congregations could invite artist participation by inviting musicians
to write songs that tie in with sermons or painters/designers to create
original power point slides for a service. They could sponsor a poetry
jam, battle of the bands, writing contests, host a community art show,
or start an artist’s small group. Church members could donate a studio,
gallery space, photography equipment, recording time, or publishing
contacts.

Another great way to support artists would be to create a
church-sponsored artist’s scholarship. This could be a competitive
scholarship where artists would submit a portfolio of work and a
write-up of goals for the coming year, to win a monthly or yearly grant.
Creating a church environment where the arts are more appreciated and
funded is part of honoring the God-given gift of creativity that lives
inside us all. There are tons of ways for churches and artists to work
together towards spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In a world that encourages us to become more materialistic and
anesthetized to our souls, we desperately need the re-emergence of art.
Let’s all do our part to make this happen.

Melissa Kircher is a painter and photographer whose work can be seen at www.melissakircher.com. She also blogs regularly about relationships with her husband at www.holymessofmarriage.com.