I believe the Biblical truth that every human being is made in the image of God the Creator (Gen. 1:26, Revelation 4:11). Therefore all human beings glorify their Creator when they explore, enjoy, and engage in the act of creating. (Exodus 31:3, Colossians 3:23.)
The Fall has tainted all things with sin (Romans 8:18-25), including the arts. In teaching art intend to teach in such a way as to redeem these truths:
1) God alone is to be worshiped not created things (Romans 1:25).
2) Every human has ability to create and may be gifted by the Spirit (Genesis 1:26).
3) Humans can gain aesthetic awareness of organized structure (Romans1:20, 1Peter 3:4).
4) We are called to glorify God through visual imagery (Exodus 31:3-5, 1Peter 4:10).
5) The arts enhance worship and bless others (Exodus 28-39, 1 Chronicles 13:8).
I have three main visions for instruction:
1) Engaging students in the arts, recognizing that it is an act of worship and brings pleasure to God.
2) Equipping students to enjoy the arts through understanding its meaning, history, and compositional aesthetics.
3) Encouraging students to use art to impact the Church and world for Jesus Christ whether through hobby or professional fine or applied arts.
Every artist reveals his world-view through his art making. I ask middle school students to express their relationship to God, friends, family, community, school and church through art. They also explore art history from primitive art through contemporary art emphasizing the Reformation and its impact upon art making and the church.
In my high school classes students memorize Exodus 31:3-5 and Colossians 1:15-17. I desire students to gain aesthetic appreciation of organized structure by studying art composition and being able to communicate this organization through the Elements and Principles of Art in art making. Upper level students are taught observational skills, technical skills and communication skills. Students use these skills to confidently create works of art, conduct class peer-led critiques, and describe, analyze, interpret and judge historic and contemporary art. This gives students the ability to be objective and sensitive critics not only in the fine arts but also in every area of their Christian walk.
I challenge college-bound art students to bring meaning making into their artwork as they begin to build a body of work that is theme related. I emphasize issues of sin, redemption and personal story. My students develop community through testimonial sharing, the reading of Francis Schaeffer’s Art and the Bible, and Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev as well as doing peer led critiques. My Advanced Art students are required to create art to impact their church, encouraged to internship with local professional artists, and to prepare a portfolio for review. I feel it is vital that students connect with working artists. We have impacted Grand Rapids through inviting non-Christian professionals to critique, present, and even collaborate with students in making permanent art for our school. I believe that offering many field trips and guest artists brings students into the community and helps them share the love of God with our neighbors.
I introduce students in the applied art classes, Design I and II, to each of the major design fields through real world projects. Students are critiqued by working professionals and are highly engaged in making design for the greater benefit of others and a sustainable world. Discussions center on our biblical mandate to care for the earth and glorify God in creating that which is holy, pleasing, and beneficial to the world and His Kingdom.
Supportive Scripture Verses related to Art and Creativity
Exodus 31:3-5 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.
Colossians 1:15-17 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
Genesis 1:26 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”