Redeemer’s Art Department is committed to nurturing its students as both artists and people. As the only Christian university in Ontario that offers an art degree, the art faculty at Redeemer puts extra emphasis on the role students have in Hamilton’s growing art culture as well as in the broader Christian community.
Part of that includes displaying and explaining their art in various spaces. As noted by Redeemer student Tristan Käärid ’17 of Owen Sound, Ontario, “The opportunity to show art is second only to the opportunity to glorify God. The capacity of art to represent the godly in creation is uncanny. To me, the calling to create art is of utmost importance.” Redeemer students have that opportunity at Redeemer’s Art Gallery, but increasingly, there are more off-campus venues where they have been able to display their work and share their gifts.
One of the ways this is being done is through the use of art as a means of worship. For many churches word and music are the most common ways in which the congregation expresses and enhances their faith. The Art as Worship ministry at New Life CRC in Guelph, Ontario has been very intentional about incorporating liturgical dance, drama and visual arts into their congregational worship. The church has created a space to host the art of their extended community as an extension of their worship. “In a sense we are crafting a multi-sensory worship space,” says Nicole Ensing, New Life’s Worship Ministry Coordinator.
New Life’s Art as Worship ministry has invited the Redeemer Art Department to be part of their gallery. When the invitation arrived the art class had been working with the theme “Temple.” Hearing this, the preaching team at New Life developed this theme of Temple into a preaching series for the Pentecost season. The theme is centred on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
Through their respective media, the eleven Redeemer student-artists will reflect on the meaning of “temple” and then develop the theme in several different directions. Some of the work considers Temple in the context of World Religions, while others look at the experience of women in worship and how the body and nature can be understood as temples. “I think each painting offers a unique take on what the temple represents, so that with the awesome opportunity to have several of them displayed at New Life Church, they will add a new depth and richness to the conversation about the temple,” says Redeemer student Rachael Bosma ’16 from Hamilton. Another of the Redeemer artists, Bethany Kenyon ’17, of Mitchell, Ontario, shares that, “It is very fitting that this show will be hung in a church and I am excited to see how the show goes.”
“The gallery looks wonderful and the students have given us write-ups which will give our congregation insight into how this exhibit ties into our current sermon series,” says Ensing. The gallery show will open June 7, and all are welcome.
The Art Show opening will follow New Life’s 10:30 a.m. worship service as part of a coffee social. The artists have been invited to speak about their work and take questions from the crowd.
The church is very much looking forward to hosting the Redeemer students: “We’re so pleased to finally host students of the Redeemer art department,” says Ensing. “This has been a goal of ours for a number of years.” Redeemer art students feel the same way about this opportunity. Nicole Stadt ’16, from Edmonton states, “Being able to share this beyond the Redeemer community is amazing because through art we are connecting with people that we may not even know.”
View the Temple Project at New Life Church, 400 Victoria Road North in Guelph, from May 24th to June 14th. A reception will be held at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 7.