The world is bursting at the seams with stories. Stories of poverty, injustice, and pain... but also stories of hope and change! It is not the stories of injustice that will guide the course of history, but the stories of the heroes who stood and fought for justice.
What if artists began to use their art for something greater than themselves?
We have seen firsthand the potential that lives inside every artist. We have witnessed how photographs can change hearts and move people to save the lives of children targeted for death due to a tribal superstition. Staff and student’s music was the soundtrack that led young girls out of ‘Garbage City’ and into an after-school refuge. Their drawings inspired young women to leave prostitution and start a café. We have seen what artists can do working in their own fields; what would happen if artists from every medium joined together... the possibilities are endless!
How does God want to use you? What stories does He want to write through you? How will you use your gifts, your abilities and your art to change the world? God is dreaming of heroes to write history with him...
Are you one of them?
We believe that anyone can be creative, but not everyone is on the same technical level in their chosen art. Some might wish to become professionals, while others just want to use their art to express their love of God. We believe strongly in excellence, but understand that it looks differently for different people. Depending on your skill level and experience, the input that you need from your track-facilitator should vary. If you are just beginning the journey into arts you need encouragement and a safe space to experiment. If you are at a high skill level and aiming to be professional, you need honest and direct criticism of both your technical and artistic skill. In order to facilitate this we will divide the art tracks into different levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This will dictate what sort of goals you ought to be setting, as well as the expectations from us. Through interviews and assessments, together with your track facilitator, you will decide which level will be best suited for you and where you will grow the most.
Art tracks, MOTA 2016/17 during lecture phase.
"I WISH WE HAD USED ART IN MISSIONS"
Pulling threads of vague forgotten hope from our heads, we let self evaluation sheets feed the processing of our time here on Lesvos, Greece. Working to the clockwork of shifts at the refugee camps on the island, we had found little opportunity or even inspiration to use arts, especially in our ministry. Our team was full of creative potential; musicians, fine artists, videographers, photographers, graphic designers- armed with our weaponry of cameras, paintbrushes, and guitars our battle cry had fallen relatively flat in the five weeks spent handing out tea to tired hands, giving dry clothes to people sodden and desperately frozen by the icy crossing of the Turkish/Greek border. We had created deeply within the confines of our team, sketched on sea rocks, written lyrics and poems and music, but these depths were lost on ears familiar to the truth of what our art carried in it's essence- something of His name.
Time had fled well behind us and we were loaded weary limbed onto a ferry that would carry us twelve hours over choppy waters and under astral night skies to the docks of Athens. Our baggage buried in the deep of the iron ship, we made our way to middle decks of polished wood, heated sofa areas, yellow light cafés and bars. It seemed bizarre that we were surrounded by luxury when just above us, resigned to the sparse top decks were the people who had journeyed across wild lands and dangerous tides only to be segregated from freedom once again.
Two of us prayed for inspiration to minister, and committed to keeping awake against the rocking waves to love on the people sitting above. Then the idea struck up like a match in our heads; we would play them music.
Still, grabbing a guitar seemed like a reckless move, and the view up top confirmed this- people exhausted and asleep in their grey survivors blankets. But there was joy in the room here, quiet but tangible nonetheless. A man pulls out a chair and we sit, and we sweat, and we play. People begin to crowd around us, and we sing, we drum, we play. They begin to take videos, iPhones thrust into our bemused western faces, then they begin to clap, to cheer, to dance. We play on, a crowd gathering, men women, children, and they are all clapping with joy to the songs God has gifted us with. So we begin to declare His name in this place, singing in Spanish how "He Loves Us', singing with joy and genuine love in that moment for the people around, and for our God. Then suddenly they pick up the cry, and they are singing too, this little battalion of refugees, crowded round us with hope, declaring that He loves them. And He does, he loves the faces of His children whom he made with deep, deep affection. The ferry thrums steadily into the night through the salty tides, ports dotted around as gold and silver lights twinkle undeterred from the shore. One AM, 2AM, it doesn't matter, and we stop playing and start listening to the music of the stories they feel compelled to share. A woman is sketched by a team member, a portrait of a daughter beautiful and loved, photos are taken of God's precious children. We are them too.
WRITTEN BY LUCY PETERS, MOTA 2015/16.
Student exhibition, MOTA 2016/17.