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.
Art is powerful. Artwork, whether it is a beautiful paintings, an emotional dance, or powerful melody, focuses our eyes on and tune our ears to the pain that pierces us, the injustice in front of us, the joy abounding within us, and the pull we feel to live meaningful and significant lives. Music moves us. Poetry connects us. Paintings shout at us. Dance energizes us. Art draws us back into the reality of our humanity when we wander away from it—full of pain, discouragement, and bitterness. Art whispers to us: “You are not alone.”
In our American, western society, real art is slowly becoming less and less present in our every day experiences. It’s true that our current generation experiences “art” in abundance, as a constant stream of marketing—creativity is often times now merely used to push product. The sad reality of this is that when we only experience art in advertisements, websites, brands and logos, we lose the invaluable ways that it helps us understand who we are and what life is all about.
Our world today has lost sight of the fact that art is worthy without first having to prove it’s worth.
We live in a culture that values prestige and monetary success as the ultimate goal and because of this, the artist is beginning to fade away. In order to survive, artists must strive for success; even though that is not why they originally create. Artists create because they feel. Artists are emotionally connected and invested in the world and people around them and they are compelled to share the story of their experience with those around them. The reality is that creativity demands more materials, time, space, and funding. The act of creating 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 more of the same, which leaves the artist exhausted from trying to please the hoards of people who have jumped onto the latest trend.
I believe that 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, action needs to be taken so that art can be restored to its rightful place. We are all responsible to change things.
So what can you do?
Make art part of your daily experience.
We all enjoy creative expression in some shape or form. Find out what form this is for you and make space in your schedule for it. Creativity can look like many things and will be different for each of us. Creative expression is refinishing furniture, gardening, experimenting in the kitchen, and even working passionately in the world of science or math. Another important way to elevate the arts is by supporting art within your local community by purchasing tickets to the ballet or symphony, checking out a local art show, attending local and regional theater productions, 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 that you love, and by purchasing original artwork!
Bring creativity to your workplace.
Creativity is becoming more and more essential in today’s businesses. Creativity and passion are becoming increasingly necessary to companies who desire imaginative and innovative ways excelling in their areas of expertise. 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. Our lives are valuable and our time in this world is limited. It is important for each of us to do what we are passionate of and to stop wasting time chasing dollars and cents and to focus on work that is powerful, innovative and life giving. When we go to work each day we should be dreaming less about getting ahead and cashing in more at the bank and more about creatively solving the world’s needs and speaking life into the people around us.
Encourage your church to engage artists.
The Church is losing its culture makers and is hurting because of it. 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)
How can churches re-incorporate artists when many of them feel that in order to have their art welcomed in church, it needs to be tame, cute and kitschy? 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, evocative and challenging work to be displayed. (More on this next month.)
In a world that encourages us to become more materialistic and anesthetized to our souls, we desperately need the re-emergence of art in all aspects of our lives. Let’s all do our part to make this happen.