What a start for 2016!

We're so happy to announce that ArtServe International (ASI) is officially a 501c3 non­profit organization. This was a huge and exciting step for us. When I think about all the years that we have used art as a tool to communicate God’s love and craftsmanship, I am humbled and grateful. 2015 was a wonderful year with local opportunities as well as international. Whether we are in our church leading art workshops or traveling to Africa to give art as a gift in the form of painted portraits, one thing is for sure - what we value most is those small moments of connection with others. These moments are a treasure to us. It is also a reminder that God is inside of us yearning to love, teach, and create beauty.

Artist Nancy Rodriguez explaining a collaborative portrait project.

Artist Nancy Rodriguez explaining a collaborative portrait project.

2016 is off to a great start! We had our second annual Martin Luther King Jr. one day camp, The Art of Peacemaking. The focus of this workshop was for the campers to value their personal artistic point of view as well as the point of views of others and learn about the importance of MLK’s dream come true. We do this by allowing kids to create a self portrait that shares a little about their hopes and dreams or what makes them unique. Then we did a collaborative portrait of MLK. It was at times, a painstaking process for all of us because we each had a piece of portrait and it looked so abstract. Some of the kids thought it would never look like Martin Luther King! The quote of the day was “Where’s Martin?” In all honesty, we sometimes scratched our head and wondered if it would come together. Inwardly we were preparing our speech of encouragement when an art project fails. Little by little, we pieced it together and with a little squint of the eye and lo’ and behold! There’s Martin! Our young artists were amazed to see the finished piece and they felt proud of their contribution.

To further the idea of community and contributing, we announced that the finished piece would be donated to a non profit to be announced soon. This tradition began when we donated last year’s MLK portrait to The Collective at Cumberland who specialize in helping the local community find job training and employment.

Artist Freedom Rodriguez helping with the weaving project.

We also did paper weaving. It truly symbolized what it means to be a unique person that is knit together with others in an accepting way. Each created two painted papers, one with warm and one with cool colors. One of their papers was made into strips and added into a “community pile,” while the other was prepared as a loom. The idea was that each would visit the community box and collect strips to weave into their loom. It was great to see the young artists feel happy to find someone’s strip or sometimes not know whose strip they were adding to their finished piece. This symbolized not only the unity we felt as a group, but also lived out Martin Luther King’s dream that...

“With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together…”

It was emotional to stand back and see the young artists working on this project and being knitted together, so to speak.

Also joining our group was architect and jewelry artist Shaun Martin (left) and Jonathan Everett (back right) who always bringing peace and fun humor. Big thanks to both.

ONGOING INITIATIVES

ASI has a few ongoing programs and some that will take place soon. For starters, we have a few gifted students who take private lessons. We are consistently impressed with the ability, maturity, and determination these students display. Another ongoing program has been running sort of behind the scenes. This is the JEMS worship dance team. (Jesus Es Mi Salvacion, translates: Jesus is my salvation). It is a free discipleship group of women and young teen girls who meet together to pray and worship through dance and the use of flags. The funny thing is, none of us have any dance training. This leaves us to fly by the seat of our pants and trust the Holy Spirit. The focus is not on performance, but on worship. The results are very deep moments between women, girls, and God. Please consider donating to this program as it is completely free and open to the church community of women and girls who are seeking confidence, belonging, and healing.

UPCOMING

ASI will be conducting our first official after-school art program! This will take place at The Stonehaven School. We look forward to the fun times creating with kids and will update you with the outcomes.

REMEMBER

Your donations also help us with art supplies. Thank you so much for joining us on this beautiful journey!