Category Archives: civablog

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Student Work

By Cameron J. Anderson

Last week I visited George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. It was a splendid day—the campus lawns lush green, trees leafing out in pastel shades, and flowers and shrubs blooming all around. Mark Terry, Chairperson of the Art and Design Department, assured that it would be a busy time, and it surely was. That afternoon, three senior exhibits opened. On view was the work of Nicole Williford (painting), Sarah Harris (photography), and Sara Jensen (digital illustration and ceramics). Their smart gallery talks were impressive, as were the throngs of classmates, community friends, and family who gathered with them to celebrate. Mark Terry and his faculty colleagues at George Fox University are running a thriving art and design program.

Painting by Nicole Williford
Painting by Nicole Williford


The afternoon’s events sent me musing in three related directions. First and without fail, each time I witness these kinds of student shows, I am reminded of my own B.F.A. and M.F.A. exhibits, now decades past. So many elements seem ever-present: the eleventh hour creative push of hand, heart, and soul to finish the work; the drafting of an artist statement; the welcoming of out-of-town guests; and, though there is hardly time for it, wondering about what’s next? If you completed a degree in art, design, architecture, or film studies, you know the experience.

If my own student exhibits occurred decades ago, our daughter Emilie’s 2005 Senior Show at St. Olaf College was more recent. Through a father’s eyes, it was clear that this event—for Emilie and others—represented a kind of coming of age. For many, this moment is a consequential passage from amateur to professional. In any case, with the graduate exhibit, the artist has probably produced his or her first real body of work. That aesthetic (such as it is) will be reworked, either in graduate school or in the new routines of professional practice, and then fine-tuned or even radically reworked again and again.

Then a second thought settled in. What an enormous investment these senior shows represent—not just the exhibit itself, but all that leads up to it: the financial costs, of course, but also the investment of time for the students as well as for each of their instructors. And there is another, more subtle, cost: taking classes in drawing, design, and art history means not taking classes, say, in biology, business, or nursing. While the world remains mostly open to young people in their mid-twenties, preferring one major over another so often becomes an expression of one’s vocation and the subsequent occupations that may follow, as if to say, “This is who I am and what I do.”

My third reflection was this: an artist’s vocation is neither conceived nor practiced in isolation. Some years ago, one CIVA board member noted that while undergraduates attending Christian colleges and universities might not sense the need for an organization like Christians in the Visual Arts, the realities of post-college life often alter that view dramatically.

As the graduating students of 2016 move on to the next leg of their journey, my hope and prayer is that they will find new mentors, coaches, friends, and colleagues. We are not designed to embark on this journey alone; rather, we are made for community and in all of its rich multi-forms. For instance, these days the CIVA community represents at least four generations—students in their early 20s to seniors in their 80s. To be sure, the conferral of an art degree and a senior or capstone exhibit is an achievement. For many, it is also a launch point into the arts—a world filled with opportunity but also fraught with questions about art practice and purpose, success and even suffering. Clearly, in all of this, we need soulmates to accompany us on this sojourn.

Cameron J. Anderson is the Executive Director of CIVA | Christians in the Visual Arts.

Bono and Eugene Peterson | The Psalms

A wonderful new film has released today from Fuller Studio. This short film documents the friendship between Bono (lead musician of the band U2) and Eugene Peterson (author of contemporary-language Bible translation The Message) revolving around their common interest in the Psalms. Based on interviews conducted by Fuller Seminary faculty member David Taylor and produced… Continue Reading

Art for Holy Week

Art For Holy Week is an eight-day video series, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, exploring depictions of Christ’s Passion in the graphic work of Albrecht Dürer. The daily meditations are written and narrated by James Romaine. The Palm Sunday video is below, and you’ll find the daily videos for the rest of the week here:… Continue Reading

Forty Days | Forty Sacraments

An interview by Cameron Anderson with artist Kari Dunham CIVA: Kari, you and I are Facebook friends (friends in real life, too) and so I have been watching you post images of paintings on Facebook throughout the Lenten season. Please tell the CIVA community how this project got started? Kari: I find myself in a… Continue Reading

March 5 Redux

By Cameron Anderson Nearly 600 people engaged in vital conversations about art and faith on the weekend of March 4-5, 2016, at one of three conferences hosted by CIVA member organizations in Pasadena and La Mirada, California and Charlotte, North Carolina. We asked event leaders and speakers Allison Luce, Bruce Herman, Jonathan Anderson, Makoto Fujimura,… Continue Reading

Who Do You Know?

By Barry Sherbeck It is often said that “who we know matters more than what we know.” In fact, knowledge alone is incomplete apart from relationships. Fortunately, knowledge and relationships are not mutually exclusive. Far from it, some of the most important things I’ve come to know have been gleaned from others, often after years… Continue Reading

Lumen Christi: Easter Encounters with Art

This April 5-9, 2016, Mount Tabor Centre for Art and Spirituality invites you to an experience of contemplation and creativity in an atmosphere of monastic hospitality and peace. Artists and those who love art are welcome to a retreat, Lumen Christi; An Easter Encounter with Art at the Community of Jesus, an ecumenical monastery on Cape Cod, MA. This art and… Continue Reading

Who Is God? – A Poem

From SEEN Journal XV.2 – The Sustainable Life   Who Is God? By Tamisha Tyler At age 5, He is the best answer For Sunday school questions. At age 8, He is the person you give your life to (Although the lady called him Jesus) At age 13, He is the only one Who will… Continue Reading

CIVA Featured Artist – Denise Kufus Weyhrich

“I am having the time of my life!” Denise Kufus Weyhrich is an installation artist who works to create conversations and encouragement through conceptual works. Her media and forms are intrinsic to each artwork and involve manipulated found objects. Her works are centered on the metaphorical, authentic and spiritual, yet presented in conceptual installations. As… Continue Reading

Doing Good Well – Living Fully Into Our Good Intentions

By Laura Cootsona A “desert island book” by definition is one that will feed you in the direst of circumstances and do so predictably over time. My list—prepared in advance, just in case—includes Sabbath by Wayne Muller. Wayne speaks to my heart by consoling and cajoling, encouraging and emboldening. He confirms my beliefs, and he… Continue Reading