“Imagine the beauty of a starry night sky. It stretches out before you like a velvet blanket, shimmering with lights like diamonds. [Photo 1.] Truly, it is a beautiful and remarkable thing, and simply through it’s existence, it breathes a hallelujah to God. Well, we’ve talked a lot previously about beauty and truth, and how beauty was created by God to give Him pleasure and glory, and how God also integrated something deep inside our souls, some mysterious aesthetic that responds to beauty. God designed beauty, defined beauty, and then designed us to respond to beauty. Because of this, we respond to things that are beautiful, like a compass that always points north. So the vast and dark beauty of a starry midnight sky exists to display God’s glory. And we respond to it and are drawn to it. It is uniquely and universally human to do so.
“Now someone can take a photograph of that starry night sky. [Photo 2.] And we all know that the photograph of that night sky is not the night sky. It is only a piece of photo paper, or an image on a computer screen. But if it is photographed well, then the photo hints of the sky, and displays its beauty and majesty interpreted through the eyes of the person who took that photo, through the eyes of the artist. So we suspend our disbelief that this is simply a digital image, and enter into an experience of that night sky through the photograph. And what happens then is called ART. Because we suspend our disbelief, we can see the photo also with the same eyes that saw the night sky—as a beautiful and remarkable thing.
“So in it’s own way, the photo of the night sky also hints at the glory of God in the same way as the sky itself. But you see, the same can be true for a painting of a midnight sky as well. [Photo 3.] We disregard the fact that it is simply pigments and swirls scrawled on a canvas, and we see it as something more. What we do is enter into the beauty of the night sky as interpreted by the painter. It hints of the sky, of the beauty, and of God’s majesty. And we are moved by it.
“I think we all know this painting, “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. I’ve read that the swirls are there to signify that God is not a static God, but He is active and moving through the universe. And it is beautifully portrayed in this painting.
“Now here’s the thing. This is also true if I write a song about the night sky, or a poem about the night sky, or a story about the night sky. [Photo 4.] In their own and unique ways, these acts of artistry are all human expressions, all artistic interpretations, of God’s creation. Our artwork is an extension of God’s artwork. And so you could say that artmaking is an echo of sorts of the original creation. This is how art can display truth and beauty and ultimately hint at God’s Glory.”
This is an excerpt from my recent speech at the 2013 Intersections: Faith and the Arts Conference. To freestream or download the audio of this entire 30-minute talk, please hit the Oak Hills Media link here. You’ll be directed to a webpage where you just hit the play button. Enjoy!
Intersections: Faith and the Arts conference is a local Northern California conference which celebrates the arts in all it’s forms, stirs the dialogue for Sacramento-area artists of faith to connect together, and provides a theological basis for the the arts. Are you a painter, dancer, actor, writer, poet, filmmaker, musician? Then this conference is for you.
This year’s Intersections Conference—slated for Saturday, April 13, from 8:30 AM-5:00 PM at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California—promises to be one of our best yet. Intersections features many diverse expressions of the arts, breakout sessions in many disciplines, a panel discussion, and speakers that will inspire you to take your art to the next level. Oh, and a few surprises too. Plus, there is always have an amazingly wonderful catered gourmet luncheon (we believe highly in the culinary arts!).
One of the unique things about this conference is that we almost exclusively feature local area artists and speakers. We do this for two reasons: first, we have some great artists of faith in our area! Second, it allows us to create a greater connectivity with one another. This year’s primary conference speakers include:
Bob Kilpatrick is an internationally known artist, speaker, author, and Christian songwriter icon. Although he is best known as the composer of the classic worship chorus, “(In My Life) Lord, Be Glorified,” he has written a number of books including The Art of Being You (Zondervan). This is Bob’s second appearance at Intersections, brought back by popular demand.
Derek Martin is the Director of the newly formed Creative Arts Program at William Jessup University. An actor, musician, and leader of artists, Derek was the coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts at Regent University, as well as resident choreographer and a director. Derek is also Artistic Director of the Americana Theatre Company, a professional summer stock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Jim Martinez is an internationally featured jazz musician and Steinway artist with twelve CDs to his credit. A contemporary of jazz greats like Oscar Peterson, Lionel Hampton, Vince Guaraldi, Dave Brubeck, and others, he’ll be sharing his expertise and music in a free-flowing mini-concert during the event.
Tiffany Paige is the Director of the Sacramento chapter of ARTZ: Artists for Alzheimers. Although access to memory is affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, imagination and creativity are not. In this light, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences in this role.
Special Screening: “I Was Broken” We have added a special screening of a locally produced full-length feature Indie Film, “I Was Broken,” at 7 PM that evening. Participants of the conference will be able to attend this screening for free (the general public is also invited to this screening for $8). We will also have the producers of this film—Kevin Haskin, Jo Haskin, Brian Hamm, Marty Noufer and Alan Koshiyama—available during the conference and after the screening for a Q&A. We are excited to be able to support this quality, heart-moving film, which defies the typical conventions of cheesiness, questionable acting, and lack of production value.
I’m also excited for some of Breakout Workshop Facilitators this year, including visual artist Judith Monroe, songwriter Paxson Jeancake, dance and theatre director Kelly Archer, curious human Katie Murphy, dance director Sara Branaman, and others.
I’ve been quite amazed at the connections that have occurred as a result of our conferences, connections that have had far-reaching effects throughout the Sacramento region. If you are an artist—and especially if you are a leader of artists—we encourage you to this year’s conference.
Registration begins at 8:30 AM with the Common Grounds Cafe serving complimentary coffee. Cost for this event is $30 (includes lunch), and $20 for students. Click the link at the top of this blog to register on-line. For additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intersections: Faith and the Arts Conference 2012 will be held this year on Saturday, March 17, at Oak Hills Church in Folsom. This conference, featuring local artists and speakers, is intended to further the dialogue between faith and the arts. That dialogue includes both connecting artists of different disciplines together, and also connecting them deeper with the spiritual and theological implications of their art.
I will be a speaker at this event, as well as a wide variety of other artists, and there will be many opportunities to connect and be inspired. Any artist of faith will gain insight and encouragement from this event.
This year’s artists include:
Alan Koshiyama, an award-winning composer with an impressive resume of feature film, television, video game (can you say “Pac-Man Party”?), and national commercial work with clients including Disney, Time Warner, various national networks, and video games. Variety Magazine calls Koshiyama’s music “evocative.” Koshiyama also serves as Worship Music Director at Adventure Christian Church in Roseville.
Steve Scott, British expat, finished art school in the mid 1970s and then moved to US, initially to record an album with Larry Norman. He ended up moving to northern California to join the staff of arts-friendly Warehouse Christian Ministries, and since that time has released ten albums of music, published three small press books of poetry and two books of collected essays on art theory. He directs CANA (Christian Artists Networking Association), which has helped organize arts conferences in SE Asia and Eastern Europe.
Susan Miller has been a part of Sacramento’s theater and broadcasting community for over 20 years. Her broadcast experience ranges from on air and production radio work in country, pop and smooth jazz formats as well as voice-over and on-camera work for area television stations. She now divides her time doing commercial VO with her own production company, and house managing several area theaters including Sacramento Theater Company and California Musical Theater’s Music Circus. The “productions” she is most proud of are her 4 great kids who have inherited her love of music and the theater.
Katie Albert is a talented photographer, graphic artist, and occasional helicopter pilot. She will be sharing her experiences and photography from her recent missions trip to Manipur, India, in partnership with one of Oak Hills’ ministry partners, the Nehemiah Project, which assists local pregnant women affected by HIV and runs the Nehemiah Children’s Home.
Yvette Johnson is a dance major at UC Santa Barbara. She has been dancing since the age of six and trained at Northern California Dance Conservatory during high school before moving to Santa Barbara to continue her studies. It was in Santa Barbara where she encountered the presence of God in the dance studios through various relationships with a very special group of dancers. Her dedication to following Jesus and moving for the Lord provides the basis for her testimony at Intersections.
The Intersections Conference features a variety of expressions including painting, photography, dance, and music; breakout sessions in specific areas of the arts; a panel discussion by local experts; and a wonderfully catered gourmet lunch (we believe highly in the culinary arts!). Registration begins at 8:30 AM with our Common Grounds Cafe serving complimentary coffee. Cost for this event is $30 (includes lunch), payable at the door. Please reserve your spot by emailing email@example.com today!
This one-day conference is intended to be a catalyst for the continuing dialogue of faith and the arts, and features various local expressions of the arts. This year’s event promises to be the best ever, with an eclectic mix of art forms and speakers.
Headlining our local speakers are:
• Joel Kilpatrick, bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and founder of LarkNews.com, the world’s leading religion satire website for which he was profiled in Time magazine and Christianity Today, and received a Dove Award. He has ghostwritten more than 40 books, including the New York Times bestseller, Don Colbert’s The 7 Pillars of Health. Kilpatrick’s most recent book, written with his father, is The Art of Being You (Zondervan, 2010), and his co-authored book Gray Matter comes out in 2011 with Tyndale House.
• Frank Ordaz began his career painting for George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic where he worked on such Academy Award winning films as E.T., Return of the Jedi, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A prolific and eclectic artist, Ordaz is quite busy as a book illustrator, and most recently won the ECPA’s Gold Medallion Award for illustrating The Very First Christmas (Concordia Publishing House). His work hangs in the Smithsonian Institute, the White House, and various galleries including his own art gallery in Auburn, California. You’ve gotta check out his on-line gallery.
• Dave Enns, also known as “Dave the Horn Guy,” isn’t just a pretty face. An innovative entertainer and musician, he has been featured on a variety of stages, including the Jay Leno Show, America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central, NBA/WNBA courts, Minor League baseball fields, State fairs across the country, national Christian conferences, and even local churches. Enns holds multiple music degrees, and his efforts have found him to be a Billboard-recognized songwriter, studio musician, orchestrator, vocalist, and founder/producer of an award-winning urban acappella group. He’ll join us with his 25 chromatically tuned bulb-horns as Dave the Horn Guy.
In addition to these amazing speakers, we’ll have worship pastor/songwriter/author Paxson Jeancake, songwriter/songstylist Chaya, a new show in our Art & Soul Gallery, a now-legendary luncheon by our culinary artists, and other art forms, as well as luxurious time to passionately dialogue on the arts as it relates to our faith.
Doors open at 8:30 AM with registration and our Coffee Cafe will be open at that time. The conference will begin at 9:00 AM and will go until 3:00 PM, including lunch. Cost for the one day conference is only a measly $25, which includes the gourmet lunch and a copy of Imagine That: Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian Artist (Moody Publishers 2009).
To register, please email your reservation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know who you are, your phone number, website (if available), email address, and who you represent (church, organization, or self). We’ll confirm your reservation. Payment is at the door. THANKS!
Spread the word to the dancers, musicians, painters, poets, filmmakers, and all the other artists in your life!
The second annual “Intersections: Faith and the Arts” mini-conference took place the end of July. It was an amazing opportunity to dialogue on the role and importance in the arts—and the artists—as it relates to our shared faith in Christ. About 80 people joined together for a day to speak with clarity and passion on issues ranging from arts in the church and the world, to the role of the intercessory artist, to the objective nature of beauty, to the importance of understanding a theology of the arts, to the amazing food we shared.
Inspiring speakers, all from the local area: Kelly Archer (Director/Founder of Imprint Theatre and Choreographer for Northern California Dance Conservatory), Bob Kilpatrick (Songwriter/Producer/Author/Broadcaster), Randy Blasquez (Sacramento-based Oil Painter/Teacher), Stephen Scott (Musician/Poet/Arts Leader/General Renaissance Guy), and myself.
Artistic expressions: The Northern California Dance Conservatory in Roseville, art gallery by Julie Bjorgum (oils and mixed media artist), and an international hors d’oeuvres table by chef Lee Friedmann. Our speakers also shared as well: Bob Kilpatrick shared some of his music, Stephen Scott shared his poetry set to ambient audio loops and music, and Randy shared some of her oil paintings.
We are blessed in that we have a loose fellowship of worship pastors and leaders from our area churches. This fellowship led the opening worship time: Eric Aiston (Church of the Foothills), Roby Bacsi (Community Bible), Len Jones (Journey), Manuel Luz (Oak Hills), Rick Pitcher (Rancho Murieta Community), Gabriel Searles (Harbor Community), and Gabriel Wilson (Lakeside). Being led by a group like that really models what it is to be the Greater Church.
A special thanks to all the host church, Oak Hills, who provided technical artistry, specialty coffees in the Common Grounds cafe, custodial, and other support. We’ll definitely do this again next year!
If you’d like to host an Intersections Conference in your area, please contact me for more information. I’d love to help you be a catalyst to awaken the arts—and the artists—in your community.
[Photos from top to bottom: Julie Bjorgum art piece from her "Recycled Series"; Kelly Archer shares her heart; Bob Kilpatrick muses; a display of the culinary arts; a lively panel discussion closes the conference; I lead a "coffee talk" discussion entitled "theology and other big words."]