Art Makes Meaning Makes People


I think I’ve always had an artistic side of my personality and life. I used to write poems. My senior year in college I took a drawing class just for fun. [Here’s a pastiche I made from a Picasso print] I handed my dad a book of poems and sketches for a Father’s Day when I was in my twenties. I’ve written a few songs in my day – Good Ones! When I designed conferences or retreats, I always attempted to put in some creative flair, and sometimes these proved successful. And I might still do that sometimes maybe okay yes I still do that don’t I?

But this certainly competed with my practical side and trying to get practical things practically done. Art didn’t always get valued as much in discipling others and blocking out schedules. Even when I attended Covenant Seminary and was connected to the Francis Schaeffer Institutue, I felt lost with art. I was around more. I was around more accomplished artists. What in the world did I have to offer?

I still struggle with that question. Design. Beauty. Function. Delight. Purpose.

I’m not planning on answering that here in this post. But I want to mention that we at City Pres value the believability and beauty of Christ. We don’t want to promote a faith without signs and symbols. We want artists actively engaged to tell stories of rescue with paint, wood and metal. We want our new building to be beautifully telling that story. We don’t want it to be a random hodge podge of Bobby and Doug’s idiosyncrasies (which is what you’d get!). Art should draw us into the beauty and wonder of God and his world. It should also speak to the jarring evil sin brings as it breaks the way things should bit. It should call us to mystery and wonder as it “says” things to us, some of which don’t fully make sense at every moment. It should tell us a story, not all of which we know the ending.

We’ve hired our friend Erin Shaw to work for us for the seven months until our building gets opened. She’s a fantastic accomplished professional artist with her MFA from OU, and she really cares about us and this project. She loves City Pres and the church. Most of all she loves Christ. I’m thrilled to get to work with her, and I’m sure she’ll be wanting to incorporate my work for a collaborative effort soon. I’ll let her tell more about her work as we go along. You can learn about her on her site here.

Headshot 2 Nicole Hager