“A Heart for Others” Interactive Exhibit

Local Memphis artist Chris Reed was very inspired by his mission trips with Hope Church to Quito, Ecuador. He developed such a passion for mission work that he has even gone on trips on his own. On one such journey, he stayed a night – against his better judgment – in a shack. To bring that life-changing experience to Cordova, Chris Reed is building a full-scale model of a third world country shack in the middle of the lobby at Hope Church. This 8 ft. x 8 ft. shack will be constructed of building materials such as tin roofing, plywood, and other found supplies. Blue masking tape will be used to mark off on the floor surrounding the shack to the average square footage footprint of a typical Cordova home. Reed hopes that his interactive piece will touch viewers as deeply as his actual experiences in missions have changed him.

“I want the my representation to be as faithful to a real shack as possible so that living conditions really hit home to the viewer,” stated Reed.

In addition to the shack, Reed has also constructed two large photography displays. One measuring 15 ft. wide by 9 ft. tall and the other is 12 ft. wide by 9 ft. tall. Each display is a collage of imagery, statistics, information, and actual photographs from Hope Church’s outreach and missions groups: Global Outreach, Urban Missions, Oasis of Hope, and Tapestry. Church volunteers and staff will also be on hand to answer viewers’ questions, give out education materials, and take sign-ups. The exhibit will be open for one weekend.

Saturday February 28th at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
and Sunday March 1st 8:00 am to 12:30 pm

The exhibit is open Saturday at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm and again on Sunday 8:00 am to 12:30 pm. Viewers are invited to attend worship services available during those times.

Hope Church
8500 Walnut Grove Rd, Cordova, TN 38018

Random thoughts on blogging

Isn't blogging really just random thoughts anyway? Well, I've been playing around with this site meter/tracker thingie. It's interesting to see how many visits my blog gets and from where. But the really neat thing is the "average time spent on the site" part. Like whom in Shawnee, Kansas visited 8 times at an average of 1 hour 25 minutes. That's a lot of reading or they just left the page up over night. And why would someone in Melbourne, Australia visit once for 27 minutes. Another person in Pahrump, Idaho was on the blog for 6 minutes and visited 11 pages. Okay, so that's all. I was just pondering that. Leave a comment some time folks.


In the Grove - Artist statement revised

Not Your Typical Yard Work

I have an enormous backyard. It’s nearly one acre but located in an average Memphis neighborhood. Most days I feel blessed. Other days I remember that I have to mow all that. A prominent feature in the yard is the grove of seven large pine trees. As the trees have matured, branches have reached and twisted for light. Finding the lines and forms of the pines to be elegant, I began painting a new series called In the Grove.

Although there are not explicit religious or spiritual themes in the works, the process of creating the paintings has become a
time of prayer and meditation for me. It is very peaceful to be outside in God's creation and create. The act becomes the prayer. "Dear God, thank you so much for this wonderful day and these mighty trees. Thank you for the blessings in my life like this little plot of land that I call my own."

So this summer when I'm not out there behind a mower, I'll be behind an easel flinging some paint around. This is the kind of yard work I could do every day.


Art and worship blend at The Stirring makes the news

I have to say that my new favorite reporter is Lindsay Melvin at the Commercial Appeal. She just did a wonderful article about The Stirring and how we use live art during the worship service. Mike Brown is also my new favorite photographer. His image of Cara painting during the service is outstanding. I'm incredibly excited. I couldn't sleep last night and when I'd wake up I would go check the CA web site to see if the article had posted. I checked at 12:30am, 3:30am, and 5:30am.

I'm excited to see Andy Savage's statement that Highpoint Church is looking to incorporate more art in the future. I hope other local churches read the article and it encourages them to move forward with connecting with the arts community and using the gifts of their artists.


Interesting lecture on the role of the artist

I'm totally diggin' this lecture on the artist stereotype and artist's responsibility by Sam Andreades at the 2007 IAM Conference. He also makes a strong argument about where artistic genius comes from. It's worth listening to.


"The artist queries the last privacies of our existence and tells us to change our life"
— George Steiner

Cool bits from lecture:
The artist is made to influence others. Artists desire increased exposure and increased influence. The greater the influence, the greater the responsibility. Speaking for those who cannot speak, is taking responsibility for them. Art as a gift of influence, a responsibility to speak truth and change lives.


Including Art in Our Worship

"In the beginning, God created..." – Genesis 1:1

Art is an integral part of the Stirring. It’s presence in the service draws people in to one of the many ways others use their talents to worship God. Why add live art to the service? Art and creativity points back to The Creator. Creating was the very first thing God does in the Bible. He created everything from nothing. He created us in his own image and so there is a measure of creativity in us all. Almost all artistic expression begins from inspiration found in God's creation. At the very least, the pigment in the paints came from God's creation. We use live worship painting because it adds a completely new dimension to the experience.

From my experience as an artist, painting on stage in front of a live audience is like nothing you have ever encountered before.It adds a complete new dimension to your work, your worship, and your personal walk with God. At The Stirring, we don’t have a live painting once in a while. We do this every Sunday. Come join us.
— Richard Fudge, Senior Artist and Gallery Manager


What other artists have said to describe what they love about live painting at church:

  • “Painting with God really gives me clarity, focus, and peace.”
  • “It’s one of the most life giving, joyful experiences of my life.”
  • “The opportunity to visually impact people through the gift God has given me is a feeling that exceeds description.”
  • “When I paint as worship to God, I feel as though I am purely connected to Him in the embrace of creativity.”
  • “Painting let’s me express my relationship with God and my spiritual struggles.”

Volunteering to be a guest artist:

A guest artist commitments to attend and create art during one month (4-5 Sunday nights) of Sunday night services. The Stirring will provide the artist with the following: chair, table, small drop cloth and an easel. Inappropriate subject matter is not allowed. The artist can work on one piece for the entire month or a new one every week. It's up to you. We'd recommend working on a piece at least 18"x24" in size and not much larger than 40"x40". Larger works may require that the artist provide their own easel.

Artist participation during the service:
It is important that you arrive at or before 4:50 PM each Sunday in order to set up and begin your artwork before the congregation enters the worship center at 5:25 PM.

The artist is positioned to the right side of the stage. The artist will remain on the stage until one of the worship leaders prays the prayer before the sermon. During that prayer, the artist comes down from the stage and is seated in the congregation. After the pastor has finished his sermon, he will pray again. During this prayer, the artist will make his/her way back up to the stage to create until the end of the service. The artist will usually be featured on video at the time of the offering and special music.

The Stirring ends at about 6:30 pm. After the service, people may come up to ask the guest artist about the piece. If they are artists as well, please encourage them to volunteer to paint at the Stirring. It's also not unusual for someone to offer to buy the piece. There is a certain connection and attachment created when you watch a piece develop during a worship service. After the service is over, please put away the chair, table and easels in the storage closet behind the large screen at the right of the stage.

If you’re interested in purchasing a piece of art, displaying your art, or painting during The Stirring, contact me by leaving a comment.


Had my first interview with the Commercial Appeal

Woohoo!! How cool is that! I was interviewed about live art and painting in church. I'm not sure yet when the article is going to run. But I will keep you posted. I better start updating the blog more in case there is increased interest after the article runs. My goal is one post a day for a week after it runs.

Course this isn't the first time that The Stirring and its arts program was in the CA. They even gave me the byline that time. It was also in the Shelby Sun Times a few times — once for gallery in general, once for Kara's show, and another for Deeann's exhibit. The Memphis Flyer has been really good about running our gallery opening listings and often a photo. All and all not bad considering that I don't have a PR degree.


More Sending a Prayer doodles

I feel that I need to try to do a little gal instead of just the little prayer dude. Just to have some diversity. But I dont seem to have the knack. Just looks like the dude in drag to me. She doesn't seem like her own character. I think I'll leave the little girl doodles to Arian. Her drawings are much cuter.

Prayer instructions - sort of playing with the concept of how do i pray. what's the right way to pray? I like how he's got this huge folded piece like some Ikea assembly instructions. They always try to make those very easy to follow, but they always seem overwhelming.


Still going with that child like perspective — a tin can phone line to God. I'm not sure about the cloud. maybe the string would just disappear off the top of the canvas.


Sending my love - artwork and t-shirt

"Sending My Love"
mixed media on illustration board
8"x24" unframed, 12"x28" approx when framed and matted

About the artwork: When you were a kid, did you enjoy letting go of balloons and watching them float away? Sometimes you'd attach a note or toy and would wonder where it ended up. Lately, I've been thinking about sending messages to lost loved ones. This concept was inspired by Camp Good Grief. At the end of the camp, they hold a special bereavement service. During the service, one by one each child, 7 to 12 years old, who has lost a close friend or family member releases a letter to the person attached to a balloon. I chose to use a children's book illustration style to reflect the innocence and simplicity of memorial service. So just how many balloons would it take to send a letter to heaven?

Note about t-shirt design: I would have it printed on a cornflower blue shirt. It would require 4 screens for the black, yellow, white and red colors. It could be done with fewer screens and colors if needed.
Alternatae t-shirt design: I would have it printed on red shirt to match the little guy on the painting.
This is basically my entry for an UrbanArt contest. Maybe my art will get chosen. That would be fun.


Want to incorporate fine art into the worship experience? How about adding 11ft x 24ft mural

When was the last time you saw a huge mural in a new church? I cant even imagine working on something that huge. I wish I had a link to a photo of it but I cant find one.

"Imagine the Divine"
-Submitted by: Judy and Adrienne Stein

York artists Judy and Adrienne Stein, a mother/daughter team, worked to complete an 11’x24’ mural to be installed at the front of the sanctuary at York Christian & Missionary Alliance Church on Rathton Rd. It will be unveiled and dedicated during the worship celebration service on Sunday January 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM. The large-scale mural was completed over a span of months from the time of its inception to the time of its execution and final installation.

The mural is part of an ongoing effort of this congregation to incorporate fine art into their worship experience. The place where we worship a magnificent and redeeming God should provoke an air or reverence upon entering….it should be constructed with our best materials and our finest craftsmanship. It is disheartening to observe the absence of art in the American Protestant Church. Traveling through Europe is an eye-opener to the contrast between the lavish art-filled Catholic churches of the old world and today’s minimalistic American Protestant churches. Attitudes of practicality undervalue the role of art in enriching worship. In the days of the opulent churches, the finest artisans were commissioned to create impressive architectural structures and fill them with paintings and sculptures. Since the Catholic Church was then the cornerstone of society and culture, it had the necessary wealth to embellish on the aesthetic worship experience. These richly appointed cathedrals seem out of balance with their often impoverished working class constituency. But has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction?

York Alliance church seeks to draw into the beauty and goodness of God as a community, and to use all possible creative venues to do so. They see this mural as part of an exciting “renaissance” that is taking place; a transition back to art in the church as an integral part of worship, not just among their own body of believers, but in the church universally. On occasion, Adrienne has been called upon to do live illustrations during the sermon, depicting the scene from her easel at the front of the church.

The mural project evolved from a brainstorm for a short-term banner to be painted on paper and hung at the front of the church for the Easter 2008 service. Large scale paper banners are used as a regular worship tool. As ideas for the banner became more elaborate, the idea was proposed to spend more time on the planning and more money on the materials, making this “banner” into a large-scale painting on canvas to be framed and permanently installed.

The two set to work looking for inspiration. They spent hours studying art books, looking at great religious art of centuries past – the great works of the Italian Renaissance such as Raphael and Caravaggio as well as the altarpieces of Dutch masters such as Rembrandt. Adrienne designed and painted sketches depicting various biblical scenes to pitch ideas to the pastoral staff. The chosen image illustrates Christ’s defeat of death on the cross as He identifies with our humanity, standing over the churning water in the ‘storms’ of our lives; the Holy Spirit is symbolized by the dove, and God the Father is symbolized by the eternal source of guiding light.

After the choice was made, Adrienne painted a 1/12 scale prototype which was used to project and trace the image onto the 11’x 24’ canvas. With the help of talented people within the church, they solved the anticipated logistical problems then moved forward with their labor of love. The canvas was suspended on a pulley device in the Fellowship Hall annex of the church. As an interior designer and part-time fine artist, Judy was not accustomed to painting this large. Adrienne, who paints full-time in her studio, was also challenged by the constraints of this scale. They painted the 250 square foot acrylic painting in 5 sessions, working together, about 5 to 6 hours in each session. This was just a fraction of the time we estimated. At the beginning of each session, they prayed together, dedicating their work to the Lord. The process resulted in a rich mother/daughter experience.

Judy and Adrienne feel passionately about the connection between beauty and experiencing the Divine. They donated this mural as a gift to bless their church and to inspire churches everywhere to endorse the arts and to raise awareness of the value art in worship. On this topic, they quote the late Pope John Paul II in his famous “Letter to Artists”:

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery. The Church has need especially of those who can do this on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force. Christ himself made extensive use of images in his preaching, fully in keeping with his willingness to become, in the Incarnation, the icon of the unseen God.”


April Knight - live worship artist Q&A

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, April. I thought I'd post them here for everyone to check out. It's great to find other artists using their gifts to worship.

Explain for us your experience of worshiping God through art. How it feels and why do you enjoy it?
* My experience of worshiping God through art is one of my favorite things to do. In some ways I feel like it is what God put me here to do. It feels amazing when I am painting during a worshipart. Simultaneously I am able to have a visual and audible connection with my creator. One of my favorite aspects of it is what comes out by the end of my painting. Because I never know how it will turn out but I pray that God will paint through me and he does. Often times as I paint I am overwhelmed by his Spirit and the gift that he chose to give to me. When I paint is when I feel closely in communion with the Creator. I think because it is combining to wonderful things: music and

Do you use your art as a way to talk to other people about your relationship with Jesus?
*I would say yes...many times it may be indirectly, some one may say "i love it" and I never really know what to say other than thank you. But what I want them to know that it is a gift of the Father and that he has gifted each of us with specific and significant abilities that we can use to honor Him. I believe when we do this and we choose to use our abilities for His glory, that He will bless that. And if we pray, that he will give us a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit to make us effective in His kingdom.

Sometimes my work may just give an opportunity for me to talk to someone about myself and why I do what I do. This would end up in a conversation about God and so sometimes I get to share about my relationship with God without even trying. I think a lot of times my work visually speaks to people of the truth of Father, and that he is real and living. This is only by the work of the Holy Spirit and God's hand in my work. I always pray that my work will affect those who see it, that it may cause them to change their lives and follow after Him.

If you to ever be in a room filled with Christians and spiritually searching people, what is one thing you would say to them about art?
* Art that we create at its very best is only a copy of that of the greatest artist and He is Christ. The Earth itself is the most beautiful work of art. The sky especially; I'm not sure how anyone can the intricate detail of the sky in a sunset or the clouds and be unsure of his creator's existence.

I would also say that art is for everyone. In some way each of us can enjoy either making or buying or just looking at art. If you think you would like to try art definitely do so. I didn't know I was good at drawing until I was in the 10th grade. Even if you can't draw you can paint with the use of different colors anyone can create beautiful non objective art.

Thanks for asking me to answer these questions. I do paint weekly at my church and I get to travel as the opportunities come. I just graduated college and so I am working on making this my career and ministry. If you are ever interested in having me come and paint I would love the chance to do so.


April Knight


Some inspiring quotes

Not to get all "quote of the day" on you but these really touched me.

Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm...it is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it. — Bulwer-Lytton

We lose much by fearing to attempt. — J.N. Maffitt

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in. — Greek Proverb

I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not deter or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. — Etinne Grellet

There are many people we meet in our lives, but only very few will make a lasting impression on our minds and hearts. It is these people that we will think of often and who will always remain important to us as true friends — Richard Bach