The Shootback Project

I love to see creatives enable others to find their own creativity...Read this....

175_tout_shootback"If you were in Nairobi's desperately poor neighborhood of Mathare during the mid-1990s, you might have seen a slender American woman wandering around the shanties, where nearly a million people live with minimal water supply amid puddles of raw sewage. The visitor was Lana Wong, a Harvard-educated fine-art photographer, who had come to with one aim: to teach teenagers how to shoot photographs. "I picked 31 kids, and handed them plastic $30 cameras and a roll of film each," says Wong. "I wanted them to tell their own stories, rather than have me intervene. Most of them had never seen a camera." From that bold idea has come a decade of bold work, some of the best of which will be on exhibit in Paris until May 30 in a show entitled "Shootback," the title Wong gave to her training project. "

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Grow up or Create?

Img_7326 Sydney has been on her Spring Break this week from preschool and I have just been so amazed at how much her creativity and imagination have expanded.   I have enjoyed watching her watercolor, play ponies, ride her bike, and  "read" a book to herself.  During my short time that I lived in Manhattan, one of the greatest blessing to me was the opportunity that I had to learn from Mako Fujimura through IAM.  Mako talked a lot about the importance of giving our children the opportunity to explore, create, and imagine and I have tried to create environments for Sydney to do just that. Here's an excerpt from an essay from Mako about this...

- from "Being a Child of the Creative Age" - March 3, 2007 - Makoto Fujimura

"A child uses all of her senses to discover the world. She picks up and finds fascination with a dandelion, feels the bumpy bark of a tree, tastes the baseball, smells the fallen leaf.  If you asked a room full of kindergarteners “Raise your hand if you are an artist!” Almost every child would raise his hand. But if you ask a room full of adults, almost every adult would not....And if you are an artist, you know you are seen as out of the main stream, as avant -garde, but you also have been treated like a misfit or patronized like a child. You struggle to find meaning and significance in that gap between the two seemingly irreconcilable worlds. “Grow up and do something useful for society!” The world seems to place in opposition pitting the Innocence against the reality of the Experience. We are caught between being able to have that curiosity, inquisitiveness and emboldened sense of discovery of a child and the reality of the “adult world”, a reality that forces us to realize that we all indeed live in fear, in a ground zero of some kind or another. In our conversation to create a world that ought to be, we must start at that zero point of devastation...."

Creators of culture

Updated: 2:14 p.m. ET July 27, 2007

MILAN, Italy - "There are no crosses in Makoto Fujimura’s paintings. No images of Jesus gazing into the distance, or serene scenes of churches in a snow-cloaked wood. Fujimura’s abstract works speak to his evangelical Christian faith. But to find it takes some digging."

This is a FABULOUS article!  I had the privilege of learning from Mako personally through IAM and really being exposed to this convergance that is taking place with Christians and the arts. My 18 months living in NYC forever changed my outlook on arts, the church, and the culture. Mako and his faith were a huge part of that process for me.

To read the entire article, click here.

Artistic Role models

I was privilege last year to hear Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, at the IAM conference in New York City...Here is an excerpt from a speech he gave at the commencement in June 07 at Stanford...

"...The loss of recognition for artists, thinkers and scientists has impoverished our culture in innumerable ways, but let me mention one. When virtually all of a culture's celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young. There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child's imagination, and we've relinquished that imagination to the marketplace..."

For the entire transcript, click here

Fall for Dance Festival 2006


Last night, I went to the Fall for Dance festival with a Gallery Church friend, Jessica, who is a dancer.  This is a week long dance festival of all types of dance from ballet to very modern.  My favorite was the Alonzo King's Lines Ballet who performed excerpts from the MOROCCAN Project.  We also saw the Martha Graham Dance Company,  New York City Ballet, Abou Lagraa, and The Parsons Dance Company.  This night had something for everyone no matter your taste.  Tickets were only $15!  A great bargain for such incredible artistry in one place.

High Culture better?

We are going through David Bruce Hegeman's book Plowing in Hope in our Wednesday morning IAM discussion group and today we discussed his  perceived argument that high culture is better than folk and popular.  Yeah, you can imagine the sides to this one!  The greatest thing I received from the discussion is that the purpose(Noble or not) of the art's form should be the deciding factor not physical form (Phil 4:8; II Tim 2:20). When there was such a degree of classes in our work (nobility, servants), there was a more defined culture grid - everything is so accessible now and very much dependent on taste. It is hard to "label" something specifically in one of these 3 categories.  Should culture be based maybe on a horizontal scale rather than good, better, best?  I leave it with you...

Chelsea Art Tour



Img_8903Sydney and I took a tour with IAM and several friends this past Saturday of several new art openings in Chelsea (the premiere art district of NYC).  One of my favorite galleries was the Marianne Boesky Gallery showing the works of Barnaby Furnas.  Sydney is pictured here in front of one of the pieces entitled "Red Sea."  It was amazing to see her face light up at the different showings from installation art to sculpture to photography.

Faith Healer


Last Saturday, I was privileged to make it for the final weekend of a play I desperately wanted to see this summer called Faith Healer with Ralph Fiennes, Cherry Jones and Ian McDiarmid.  It lived up to my expectations!  This play tells the story of a traveling faith healer (Frank Hardy), his long-time lover (Grace) and his devoted manager( Teddy). As the three bare their innermost thoughts, they ask potent questions about who we trust, what we know and why we believe.  It was all performed in monologue by each of the 3 actors and then a final monologue by Ralph Fiennes.  In my opinion, Cherry Jones stole the play! Her portrayal of Grace Hardy, Frank's wife, was captivating.  It was a very emotional monologue filled with desperation yet a strength in her character that you admired.  The combination of these 3 very powerful actors made it so memorable to me.

A living mystery


In my reading today from Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle, I was so struck by a couple of pages that I had to share this.  In chapter 2, she discusses our need to qualify arts as Christian or non-Christian.  She stated that the sad thing is that there are deeply committed Christians who want to do great art, write stories, compose music all for God's glory but may not have been given the talent.  However, a non-Christian or even an atheist may have an abundance of this gift.  "God is no respecter of persons, and this is something we are reluctant to face."  She goes on to say how we would like for God's ways to be our ways.  It is difficult for us to understand that God would give enormous talent to people WE think are unworthy.  We tend to qualify our own gifting based upon what the financial kick-back is to us.  We may be surprised when we get to Heaven and realize that the woman that lived a very non-public and selfless life may have had a greater impact on this world than Shakespeare himself.  To quote one of her sources, Emmanuel,Cardinal Suhard,"To be a witness does not consist in engaging propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery.  It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist."