A Dream Realized
Our dream and goal this spring at the OM Arts School of Mission was to help “Lead artists into incarnational service through being Christ centered, spiritually mature and cross-culturally effective.” By God’s grace, many who witnessed the pilot program or experienced it personally believed these purposes were indeed achieved.
While living at the edge of the Alps in this Italian valley, 17 student artists were transformed. One such student expressed gratitude for the school stating that the “end result is dramatic transformation in my life”. Each student testifies to having experienced life-altering changes as he or she digested material academically, was discipled intentionally, lived in Christian community, received professional counseling, created or performed art, and engaged in ministry.
While much of the growth happened internally, there were many tangible ways that it became evident. Here are some examples of how the artists became incarnational servants who allowed the transformation they experienced to spill over onto others to the glory of God.
The outreach team Jon led painted two murals in a space used by the local Salvation Army as a second-hand store. The “Ri-Shop” serves the underprivileged in the community and the murals there cause shoppers to ask questions about the messages being portrayed. These questions lead to meaningful conversations with Salvation Army staff and volunteers. And these conversations can be opportunities to share Christ.
Here are some images of one of the murals. It illustrates truths about the fruit of the Spirit in an intriguing way.
The second mural is a creative depiction of Noah’s Ark. The director of the Salvation Army believes in the power of this biblical story and the message of hope that it can bring for those who are able to engage with its truths. Jon created a time-lapse video that lets you see the mural being created from start to finish. Keep your eye out for Jon and his part in painting it!
Our only full time student musician, Daniel, was a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Singapore. While he was here, Daniel was inspired to compile an entire album of new music! He also created his very first music video co-starring other student artists. Jon helped with all the editing for the video and together they compiled this terrific piece of art.
In writing about his experience at the school Daniel states, “to be an incarnate artist, we must understand that God delights in our art as we do it with a spirit of excellence and a heart of worship. Our art can be worship, not just a tool.” You can read more about his experience at the school here. If you are interested in listening to Daniel’s fantastic new album, “The Tree Beyond the Fire”, you can find it here.
The theme of the exhibition was “Bringing New Life” and it was comprised of several performances by our dancers and musicians as well as a gallery full of over 30 paintings and photographs created by our visual artists. Over the course of the 3 nights of the exhibition over 300 people attended! Many important connections were made in the community and the gospel was clearly heard and felt by many. Here is a video giving you a front row seat to some of the highlights throughout the exhibition.
Graduation & Commissioning
Our graduation service was a meaningful close to the school. It was a sweet time of reflecting on all God has done and anticipating what God has in store as each student was called forward, anointed, blessed and commissioned.
The ceremony ended with a procession of the student artists carrying torches through town just as believers in centuries past have done on their way to take the gospel from the valley to the world.
Once back to Forterocca the torches were combined to create a bonfire at this place they had come to love. It was a fitting echo back to the celebration of religious freedom they took part in on the night of their arrival.
To Be Continued
God’s blessing on this school was undeniable (OM Italy agrees). And while time will tell how effectively the Spring 2012 class of student artists were led to be Christ centered, spiritually mature and cross-culturally effective, we expect that the transformative work in and through each student has only just begun!
Thank you for all of your support of this endeavor and for your continued prayers!