Visual Arts — Not Just for the Refrigerator

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Our congregation has spent a year focusing on the Psalms, Vertical Habits and visual arts with a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. This has been an exciting year of learning for our congregation and especially for those who were involved in planning the activities. We choose to focus on the visual arts because, except for a few people in our congregation, we aren’t very good at it. So we took this opportunity to learn from those who have gifts in the arts and in teaching.

We had a great turnout for our evening events where we learned about the Psalms and made art but it was still only about a third of our congregation. We displayed the art on one of the walls in our Fellowship Room. Displaying the art gave us a good chance to spread the learning beyond just those who attended. People would look at the artwork others had made and wonder what it was about. When visitors came to church, they asked about the artwork. Parents checked out their child’s drawings and children checked out what their parents had done. I was surprised that the art became another way to remember and talk about what we had learned about the Psalms.

That reminded me of the power of the arts in helping us learn and remember. I wonder if we could use visual arts to help us talk about and remember what we learn in Sunday School. As I’ve been thinking about it and here are some ideas I came up with:

  • The kids drawing of the Bible story could be placed on the wall in the classroom. The kids could review the stories they have heard in class when they see the art later.
  • A class’ artwork could be used as a bulletin or program cover.
  • A specific public place (not just a classroom) could be chosen where art from our students is displayed and, in that way, help the rest of the congregation know what we’re studying in Sunday School.

It also reminded me that, while I sometimes see time for art as merely something to take up some of the extra time in class, it is much, much more than that — it could be the time we spend doing art in class has the biggest chance for a lasting impact.

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