Who is God? Area students express their visions through art

Through art, 22 high school students from five Twin Cities schools will share their personal depiction of God in the upcoming exhibit “Who Is God?,” opening Friday, Jan. 11 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

The exhibit is sponsored by Great Commission Artists, a nonprofit whose mission is to encourage and support Christian artists personally and professionally in their ministries, connect artists from different churches in collaborative projects, and provide opportunities to share their work with their communities.

The art in this exhibit is inspired by the Bible and the life experiences of the students, explained Cyndee Buck, gallery director.

The artists come from five participating schools – Providence Academy (Plymouth), Bethany Academy (Bloomington), Concordia Academy (Roseville), Hand in Hand Christian Montessori (St. Paul) and Southwest Christian High School (Chaska).

Eighteen churches throughout the Twin Cities are also represented.

Students visually expressed their thoughts and feelings to the scripture that they selected in response to the question, “Who is God?”

“Through this process of creating, a deeper heart connection occurs for the participants to God’s word, which is explained in the students’ artist statements that will be displayed next to their artwork,” said Buck.

“We greatly appreciate the students making time to create the art for this exhibit in addition to all their other school and extracurricular activities … also, the students’ willingness and courage to allow their artwork to be displayed for others to see and critique,” Buck said.

The mediums represented include acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, graphite, gouache, oil pastel, colored pencil, pen and ink, pastel and collage.

An example is “The Light will Spread, Grow and Conquer,” a wax and oil painting of hands holding a candle by Katie Prom, a senior at Providence Academy.

The piece was created with a few themes in mind, mainly God, death and light, Prom explained in her purpose statement.

“The hands in the work show the hands of God, tenderly holding a burning candle, which represents each individual life he has created,” Prom stated. “Our lives are like the burning wax in that they are temporary, constantly getting nearer to the end. But as we near the end of our wick, we meet the hands of the creator who has held us all along.”

“Like the candle as well, the purpose of our lives is not to burn the longest, rather to spread the most light in the time we are given,” she said, explaining how we are each born with light, given to cast out darkness. “We were created to pass on the light to others in the form of love and kindness.”

Buck also noted that the quality of the artwork in this exhibit “really exemplifies the tremendous teaching ability of the art educators” at each of the participating schools. The instructors include Andrew Hale at Bethany Academy, Christopher Santer at Providence Academy, Chris Roth at Concordia Academy. Stephanie Pieske at SW Christian High School and Bethany Aguirre at Hand in Hand Christian Montessori.

“We greatly appreciate the time teachers have given to this exhibit,” she said.

Buck said she hopes viewers will understand how meaningful the experience has been for the students to create the artwork, the quality of the artwork and how the exhibit is connecting high schools and art students from across the Twin Cities.

This exhibit opens with a reception and awards ceremony 7-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins.

The artwork will then be displayed in metro area churches and schools.

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