The meeting Monday for the Covenant Presbyterian group took place, and I was unfortunately unable to attend. However, Bert sent out a follow up email:
By way of an update, recap, post-game on last night’s Covenenat art initiative potluck, I want to start out by sending out very overflowing and heartfelt, if insufficeient, thanks to everyone who came and facilitated and bantered with our mouths full last night. I felt like it was full of hopefulness from start to finish.
The point of the discussion was to ponder a way in which an art program at Covenant could include a component of what has come to be called (at least by me) “relational” art practice, a group-oriented way of projects intended to create community through teaching and reaching out, instead of simply exhibiting art objects (paintings, sculptures, etc.). To me, this seems like an approach that makes a lot of sense for a church, and it’s a vibrant subculture in the Chicago art world right now– a subculture which I have some experience in. connection to, and affection for.
Abby Satinsky and Bryce Dwyer are two of the co-founders of the grassroots creative arts-administration collective InCUBATE, and they shared their experiences from and their motivations behind the numerous ways they have created informal systems of support for artists, through residencies, food events, micro-funding, and sharing physical and cultural spacem outside of institutional, gallery, or nonprofit structures. They were also really excellent, not surprisingly, in asking good questions and guiding the conversation.
Covenant artists Dayton Castleman, Tomas Moreno, and Matt Ritsman were very articulate about the interesting tension and connections between Christian academy and artists, and the Chicago art world in general. Mike Wolf, an artist who has documented his investigative travels through the Midwest through presentations and exhibits, made lots of supportive comments, including the suggestion that we approach this initiative informally, through artist networks that we have connections to in Chicago, in order to let word spread organically. Katie made excellent points about both the openness and the inexperience Christians in general may have toward unfamiliar art projects like those we were discussing. Both Mike and I seemed to be expressing that.this is an exceptional moment for Chicago artists and Christians to benefit from the sympathetic tendencies and structures in both communities (and many shared members).
I think there was interest in continuing these discussions, as well as planning some real concrete programming sometime soon. People should feel free to address me or the group with ideas or topics.
Many, many thanks and blessings,
Bert will be presenting his work January 24th. I’m looking into possibly presenting that day, or in February. Either way, I honestly don’t know what I have prepared at all.
Also, DIG‘s first gallery opening was Friday. Emily and I attended, and saw Bert Stabler there, where we talked to him further about the Covenant Group. Josh Ippel will possibly be attending this group as well, which is nice to have expanded.
Overall, I will be out of the country (in Honduras) until January 4th, which will be interesting. I’m coming back to beginning a study on Contemporary Art in Chicago for two weeks, with Rowley Kennerk and Matt Stolle (as well as possibly Josh Ippel), along with Emily, Abby and Bridget.