Thursday, August 14, 2014

Visual Arts Teams in a Church

I believe in team work. I am a bit of an introvert and really like when I can work in the quiet space of the studio. But I also understand that we all have different gifts and bringing them together can be a wonderful thing! Carrot Top Studio actually got it's start due to a volunteer group project I led. My faith community's worship space was needing banners for the entire liturgical calendar and I was approached to take this on. I'd never done anything like this and felt that the work would be stronger coming from a group and this would also help the banners be representative of the church and not just of my work. 
The last set of banners we created at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
Even if you can't make worship banners or other visual statements or art within your congregation there could (or should?!) be a group of congregants working together towards these efforts. Visual art can be a vital part of the church in worship, education and beyond. A team or committee could be formed to help this endeavor. This group should gather and consider their task through prayer, scripture, research regarding what other churches have done and discussion focusing on what the art will mean to the community. The group's focus should be well defined. This might sound counter intuitive to the creative process of the arts but artist, whether they admit it or not, work better with some structure to work in. Break the focus (worship, education, outreach, classes, a gallery, etc) into categories and then tasks. This list might end up being huge and if so it should then be prioritized. A visual arts team should be able to clearly define what will be accomplished with a timeline and budget for the goal. Nancy Chinn has a wonderful book with a chapter dedicated in more detail to this topic. Read about Spaces For Spirit here.
A Church art gallery 
Best wishes if including the visual arts is a new endeavor for your church! You never know where the effort might lead or help grow someones faith. I will forever be grateful for the suggestion that I help develop those first banners. That led to Carrot Top Studio the online business. We have morphed and grown and now focus our artistic efforts on ministry stoles for clergy, chaplains and wedding officiants and smaller works of fiber art. 

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