Home is where your story begins.– Annie Danielson
Creativity is a curious thing. Many people would not define themselves as ‘creative’, as they don’t see themselves fitting into popular concepts of a creative person. And yet, as humans made in the image of the great Creator, creativity is a natural part of who we were made to be. Within faith communities, creativity also has something of a peculiar place. It is valued in expressions like music, where it has been part of the fabric of gathered worship for centuries. More recently, other performance arts have also found greater inclusion – dance, drama and the like.
But what of the creative who loves to sculpt? or write poetry? or construct beautiful pieces from textiles? what about the photographer, the sound mixer, the graphic designer? These skills are also pathways of expression, and of worship. They can be used to edify and inspire others. Those who wield them are also creative artists and an invaluable part of the multifaceted Kingdom of God. While many faith communities are starting to tap into these areas, it is often from a distance – Googling for images or photos – or reserved for special occasions like Easter and Christmas.
What would it look like if there was a place for any and all creative people to gather regularly, to share how they experience God’s presence through their artistry? From this question, the idea of a “creatives collective” began to take shape.
Space 2 Call Home began after a conversation with colleagues, one of whom was a local Brisbane Salvo minister, blessed with a great church facility (at that time not heavily used). We discussed a possible open mic night for local youth, a recording or performance space for hip hop/rappers and other similar options. This was exciting, yet as we chatted we found ourselves asking, “what about all kinds of artists?” The crazy idea of ‘grown up show and tell’ emerged – an opportunity to share many kinds of creativity with others. The simple parameters quickly took shape – a relaxed, family friendly evening with coffee and snacks; time to show and tell and time to chat and chill; any and every kind of creative or performance art welcome from artists of all ages.
From the first gathering in June 2018, it was clear that this concept resonated with many creatives. “I’ve found other people who love to do what I do!” has been a frequent response. Seeing a wide variety of creative expressions has been eye-opening. Meeting others who work through similar challenges, wrestle with the same disciplines and pursue similar visions has been inspirational. And it’s been, quite simply, a whole lot of fun!
The artistry presented has included a wide variety of styles, forms and techniques: visual arts (painting, drawing, photography, mixed media, wood carving, leadlighting), written and spoken arts (poetry, rap, spoken word, songwriting, prose, storytelling), musical arts (vocal, instrumental, live, recorded, soundtracked), textile arts (quilting, embroidery, mixed media, wearable art, knitting, crochet) – and that’s not an exhaustive list.
After a few local gatherings, a brains trust for ongoing planning was established. One early challenge was a common one – getting lots of people in one place at the same time, especially when some have small children, or limited transport options. The ingenuity of the Brains Trust came up with a random idea: to have more than one local gathering, and connect together online via video chat. The local gatherings provided the personal connection and relationship building to continue while expanding the collective to a wider circle of artists. It also offered a great opportunity for those outside the immediate urban area to join the fun.
The first S2CH multi-and-online was shared by at least a dozen connections including 4 local sites in Queensland and a number of individuals from interstate as well as locally. Since then, more locally based groups have begun meeting together, as well as joining the quarterly online collectives. At a 2019 women’s retreat, there was even a Space 2 Call Home elective, where the concept was able to be shared in a new form and the invitation extended to join the collective.
S2CH continues to evolve, and moving into 2020 will no doubt bring fresh challenges and opportunities. Where might we go? What might happen next? Who knows? But let’s find out, and let’s have fun doing it.
We are convinced that creatives are at their best when they can share their making with other creatives, in an encouraging and accepting space. Finding others who share our passions and skills sparks fresh inspiration, collaboration, friendship and growth. Our vision is to provide a window of opportunity for that nourishing to happen for all creative artists, especially those connected with the Salvation Army in Australia – to provide a Space 2 Call Home.