In this case the word "artist" is being used in reference to the biblical word 'artisan", defined by the Old Testament as someone engaged in artistic activities for the community. These activities included craftsmanship and creative visual arts. An artist is someone who creates with imagination!
Art Ministry Co-ordinator, Mark Tronson believes that these seminars on 'The Bible and the Arts' aren't just about delving into how many times 'artists' are referenced in the bible. The workshop goes into much more depth, looking at the creativity of each artist's work and further exploring it. This approach allows students to be introduced to a whole new world. It is not a situation of turning up and scratching some paint on a canvas.
The classes provide insight into the Spirit of God's artistic gifts to men and women and how these gifts can be creatively used for the good of mankind while enhancing Christian faith. The skills and imagination of an artist are astonishing gifts from God and need to be nurtured. The programs encourage young budding artists to embrace their passion and creativity and to ignore potential teasing or criticism from peers.
These seminars work to instil in these creative young people the idea that their artistic skills are a wonderful expression of human joy and pleasure. When others admire their work they have every right to feel a special sense of pride and satisfaction.
It is just as valid to honour the 'special ability' of an artist as it is to admire scientists, actors, musicians and sportsmen.
Mark Tronson believes that sometimes the best approach in getting students away from their inhibitions and to experience the freedom of pure creativity is by being provocative. Artists should have the freedom to create anything that s within them without fear of judgement.
"The same principles would apply to a young preacher who feels that inner passion to speak forth of Jesus Christ in a certain boldness that no one quite expects," said Mark.
"Although I suffered from a stammer, I had this passion inside me to preach Jesus. Even when I was young, I had mentors, older people of wisdom who recognised there was something to this, and provided opportunities for me to give sermons at youth services.
"This is the core philosophical basis of the Art Ministry seminars, to ensure these artistic young people get that same opportunity to display their work whatever it is, regardless of how 'out there' it might be," said Mark.