Art: Spiritual Journey Through Art - Intro

(system) #1

By Sharon Fujimoto-Johnson

"We need to get more people commenting on your art posts." That's what Bonnie Dwyer, editor of Spectrum, said to me when I dropped by the office earlier this week. Thing is, I'm pretty sure I know why my art posts don't generate too many comments, and it's perfectly fine by me. Nevertheless, Bonnie has encouraged me to blog about the thought process behind my art posts, so, dear readers, here goes:

When I was originally asked to blog for Spectrum, I thought long and hard about what I could write about on a regular basis. In the end, art was the obvious choice. Art is how I became involved at Spectrum, after all. (Remember the redesign of the magazine nine or so years ago and how we started featuring artwork on the cover?)

In addition, I've loved art all my life, and I want art to thrive within my community of faith. Unfortunately, I don't think we talk about, or explore, art nearly enough as Adventists. I'm "painting with a broad brush" here, but art for Adventists is largely confined to stained glass windows and Harry Anderson paintings--both of which I love, for the record. I want for us to move beyond the obvious so that the experience of art is expansive, transforming, and ultimately, actually meaningful. So that's why I blog about art.

Although my art posts don't often induce a slew of comments, I know you're reading them, and that's really my main goal anyway. Yes, I would love to see active conversation about art, but it's not all about the dialogue. It's also about listening and pondering in the quiet of your own mind. It would probably be easier for you to take a position on these art topics when sides in an issue are clearly delineated. In that model, there are clear choices, and you could choose either side of a fence, A or B, black or white. And, consequently, you might be more inclined to pick a position and post a comment. But I'm not telling you what to think about art. Just think about art. I'm simply giving you an opportunity to be aware of art on your own terms, to be open to experiencing it, and to listen to how it changes you.

I'm also aware that the word "art" itself scares a lot of us--let alone the idea of forming ideas about it in relation to spirituality. "I'm not an artist!" you might say. "That's out of my area." But we're all creative beings, made in the image of the Master Artist. We live in the paint strokes of His masterpiece, in the crevices of His collage. Art is all around us in the form of shapes, colors, patterns, and texture. We draw on divine principles of design, balance, and beauty in the clothes we choose, the homes we decorate, the cars we drive, the lay of the land and its buildings. Art is all around us, and it has the potential to change us in powerful ways, spiritually. I really believe that, and I really want art to become a more integral and vibrant part of the Adventist community and of our individual spiritual lives.

So, that's why, for the next six weeks, I'll be posting a participatory series called "Spiritual Journey Through Art." Each week, I'm going to invite you to embrace your identity as creative being, to pick up a blank piece of paper and a pen, and to scribble as you explore your own spiritual journey. Think of it as a summer course: Art and Spirituality 101. And no, you don't have to be an artist to participate. You just have to be willing. Trust me on this.

Wherever you are in the world, reading this blog, I hope you'll participate. If it draws you out to share what you've learned and join the conversation on art on this blog, wonderful. If it simply allows you to explore art and spirituality in the privacy of your own life, in your own home, in a way that's meaningful to you, that's wonderful too.

Join me on this journey!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at