Faith-based arts center brainstorm

A Facebook discussion with Ann Adair this afternoon prompted me to share the following. It’s a working document for a missions-driven, faith-based artist colony. If the screenshot of the document below isn’t clear, click on document to be taken to a legible page with the same information.

Art center brainstorm

Visions worth pursuing will outlast our lives.” David Taylor (paraphrased)

Adding: Per conversations this week via email and on this blog entry I’ve made significant additions to the above document. The link still works; best to click through and read the document in Google instead of straining the eyes to try and read the now-outdated screenshot in this post.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

10 Responses to Faith-based arts center brainstorm

  1. Sarah Irani says:

    !!! Very Exciting!!!!

  2. Charlie says:

    Man, where do I sign up?

    • pcNielsen says:

      I so wish I had a place to actually direct you to. At this point it’s just a brainstorm though :-/ Care to join the discussion? Is is something you (or MatterCon/Shechem) wants to see happen???

  3. jim janknegt says:

    My wife and I have discussed doing this sort of thing on our 7 acres in central Texas (sorry, it’s not the midwest). It would probably look a bit different coming from a Catholic perspective. We’d probably include spiritual direction and the discipline of praying the hours along with art making and gardening. Our daughter is just about to start high school so we probably can’t pursue this until she’s done. It be great to partner up with some energetic young people.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Inclusion of “chores” (I don’t think that’s exactly the right word) is something common to artist colonies IIRC and also something I’ve thought of in the context of this idea. Just hasn’t made it onto my brainstorm yet. Liturgy as you mention would certainly be acceptable as well, and in fact I like that as part of the regimen. And FWIW, Texas land is probably inexpensive too, and some the state could be considered the plains. But it’s just so hot down there, and it never snows, and it’s full of Texans . . . . *wink*

      Location probably isn’t as important as I make it out to be, but I have my reasons. One reason I chose the plains, not mentioned in the document above, is because it’s central to the US instead of being on a coast. So many things are on one coast or another, and when my target is (theoretically) all of the US it just makes sense for me to put it in the middle. Others might argue that you should put it where most of the people are, but then you’d have to decide which coast, and people from the other coast would have to fly clear across the country instead of half-way.

      I’ve yet to actually determine the felt need for such a thing. And it’s not as though other people don’t have similar ideas — as you obviously know. What makes my idea different from every other I’ve come across (the exception being, perhaps, whatever might eventually come out of Operation Moblization’s ArtsLink) is the missional focus.

  4. jim janknegt says:

    I wonder if you could partner up with an existing religious order that wasn’t using all of their facilities. Wasn’t the Cloister Walk set somewhere in the Midwest? I would think a monastery’s facilities would be ideal for this kind of retreat center.

    I know Hope Chapel’s arts ministry (where David Taylor used to be) did several mission type trips with artists-one I remember was to Morocco.

    I am not sure if that is still part of DT’s vision of an artist retreat center or not.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Hmmm, monastery. Another venue I hadn’t thought of. Does have potential, yes. I’ll have to look this Cloister Walk up. And I have thought of partnering in such a way. In fact it would probably be ideal as long as there was shared vision.

  5. jim janknegt says:

    I think I remember you wife mentioning “The Cloister Walk” on her blog. I think she read it.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Right! I don’t remember if she’s read it yet . . . . I think she has. She got through about 75 books last year. I just can’t keep up . . .

  6. Pingback: Grab hold of your passion [and monetize it] « The Aesthetic Elevator

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