10 Ways to Engage Artists in a Time of Digital Ministry
Over the past months, we have witnessed massive disruption taking place throughout the arts community – closures of museums, concert halls, galleries, theaters, studios – and a deep cloud of uncertainty remains for artists and especially art students. Yet, InterVarsity Arts Ministry is still committed to developing serious artists, with a serious faith, to lead witnessing communities inside their art department or art school, and then go on to be influential leaders in the arts world.
And as you are seeking to minister to the artists and art students in your ministry, we’ve compiled 10 ideas that you can try in this season:
1. Develop relationships through service & presence.
Artists connect naturally with one another as they help each other install works, practice for hours together, & show up to support their peers at performances. Finding ways to help & care for one another will give meaning to relationships.
2. Affirm gifts & callings by remembering scriptural truths.
Throughout the Bible there are examples of the value & importance of art. In a time when the world might suggest that the arts are irrelevant or superfluous, artists needs reminders that God created and intends to use their gifts for His glory.
3. Foster belonging by designing flexible structures.
While the circumstances for artistic practice have changed, the demands & expectations of excellence remain the same. Flexible schedules & communication methods allow students to participate without compromising artistic discipline.
4. Stay excited & engaged by incorporating change & variety.
There is a flow to the artist life: transitions from dusty studio floors to pristine gallery walls, from isolated practice rooms to sold out auditoriums, and from worn out practice clothes to formal attire or elaborate costumes. Artists who are used to changing environments will welcome fresh opportunities and a change of pace.
5. Hope together by reflecting on the past & dreaming about the future.
The future of the arts may look wildly different than it has in the past, and may cause fear, anxiety & depression. Acknowledging real concerns while spending time dreaming and reflecting will allow artists to remember God’s faithfulness alongside artist ingenuity and resiliency. Remind artists that imagination & memory are powerful tools.
6. Share the Gospel by practicing hospitality.
Gallery openings, performance receptions and afterparties are art world essentials. Invitations to events that offer community connections or career related opportunities are attractive and are natural spaces to witness beauty and practice living generously.
7. Remain rooted by savoring silence in prayer.
Many artists are deep thinkers and feelers. Embrace long pauses for creative minds to process and to allow time for listening to God.
8. Support leaders by defining boundaries.
Artists are used to living with blurred boundaries and sometimes it can be hard to distinguish when they are working or not working. Creating healthy rhythms and respecting limits will increase art leaders’ dependence on God and their capacity to serve others.
9. Love others with safe environments & positivity.
Voices of critique, competition & inadequacy are loud & consistent in the art world & may echo louder as students work in unhealthy home environments. Artists need the truth of God’s love for them and Christ-centered community to surround them.
10. Discover more by engaging the senses.
Artists can often be highly sensitive to their environments and many are experiential learners. Invite movement, music, and creative participation. Paying attention to details will help artists observe God at work around them and in others.
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