Making church ‘relevant’ in the arts

Published 10:40 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

It is more than just paint and canvas.

Students attending Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church’s annual Fine Arts Camp will be learning how to match the creativity and self-expression of the performing and visual arts with the mission and community outreach of the church.

For the past six years, the church has held this camp in the summer—in addition to its Vacation Bible School—to give children a creative outlet to display their faiths.

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The Presbyterian denomination “has always been very supportive of the arts and using that as a way to reach the community,” said Allyson Cover, an organizer of the church’s camp. “The neat thing this year is our theme is ‘Relevant,’ which is to say that as a church we want to express that the arts are important, relevant. They are important to our culture and the community, and we, as the church, want to be participating in that. We don’t want the church to become irrelevant by making art only of crosses on the hill or an empty tomb. As Christians, we want to create and put out excellent art.”

During the four-day camp, students can choose to take workshops on topics such as painting, drawing, collage, mixed media, mask-making, dancing, drama, singing, creative writing and varied musical instruments.

“It’s a full arts experience,” Cover said. “It really does run the gamut of the arts.”

For four days, students work alongside church members and volunteers to sharpen their fine-art skills. On the final night of the camp, the church holds a performance night where children can display the artwork made from the week as well as perform skills they have learned.

Cover said she is constantly impressed by the quality of work produced in such a short work week.

“It is amazing year after year what these students learn to do and accomplish in four days,” Cover said. “It’s nothing short of amazing.”

This year, the church will hold two weeks of the Fine Arts Camp; the first is July 13-16, and the second is July 20-23. The camps run a morning session from 9 a.m. until noon and an all-day session from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Performance nights will be July 16 at 7 p.m. and July 23 at 7 p.m.

The camp is for rising third- to eighth-graders. The camp costs $50 per camper for morning sessions and $75 per camper for the all-day sessions. The registration cost covers all of a student’s materials for the week. Registrations must be in by June 30.

Cover said the performance nights are open to the public.

“If people from the community just want to come and see, that’s a great opportunity,” she said.

For more information or to register, call the church at 539-0540.