Pope St. John Paul II had such a big heart for artists. If you haven't read his letter to young artists I recommend you do so!
True art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience...Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire to redemption.
- POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II
My quest to design beautiful liturgical calendars was born out of the desire to promote contemporary Catholic/Christian artists. So many people wonder why religious art is so lacking these days.
The root word of "patron" means "father". Without people fostering the arts, we cannot expect them to grow or even exist in the first place.
Recently I read an article about this lack of good, faithful art and the writer wrote something so convicting: There is a lack of good art, because there is a lack of patrons.
Back in the day, art was used to evangelize and reach those who did not have access to the scriptures or who were illiterate. It was a teaching tool. An opportunity to preserve historical events. And it was obvious to the patrons that beauty could reach the heart, soul, and mind of the viewer. In our current fast-paced, consumerist, throw-away culture, we no longer consider investing in these special heirlooms. We no longer value investing in beauty. And the generations to follow us will suffer the consequences.
So, how can we turn the tide? Consider a few of these suggestions!
- Art as a means to build community: You can organize an art walk with your friends at your local galleries, museums, or parishes.
- Invest in a love of art with your kids: Enroll your children in art classes during the summer or during school breaks. Talk to them about the art they see in church.
- Surround yourself with beauty: Find artists you love and invest in their work for your home.
- Art as a means for evangelization: Original artwork on the walls is a amazing conversation starter, and a great way to evangelize to your friends.
- Check out some of these faithful artists (and don't forget to share with your kids, too!): James Langley, Kristen Brown (The Saint Project), Juliette Aristides, Bernadette Carstensen, Solis Camerata, etc, etc...
Catholic Art Guild is another avenue to learn about and support Catholic artists.
Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here.
- FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY