Art is often a mechanism artists use to interpret, illuminate, mediate, and reflect on their experiences in the world. Their creative process can be therapeutic and restorative, acting as an outlet or encouragement. It can be a communal activity bringing people together in the making and sharing of the work, or it can be personal, an intimate and independent exercise. In the summer of 2020, the Calvary Art Committee issued a Call for Artists to explore their experiences during COVID-19, using these recent months as an opportunity to contemplate and create. Specifically, artists were asked to submit artwork that responded to the statement “What God taught me through COVID-19.” From the submissions, a selection of artworks by 15 artists has been included in this, our first online exhibition at Calvary Church.
Comprised of photography, painting, drawing, collage, fabric art, and mixed media, the exhibition reflects a wide range of experiences in both the calm and chaos of a pandemic. Many artists responded to the isolation and loneliness with work inspired by the opportunity to explore their immediate surroundings or spend dedicated time in prayer. Others found the creative process to be an encouragement and occasion to “let their light shine” to others in need.
Whether in personal reflection or with the intention to share, the Lord has been at work through each artist in calling them to invite the Calvary Church family to reflect, in a visual way, on His work during this unprecedented time.
My “biggest” problem with the shutdown was being locked up at home. I’m blessed that finances were not an issue, but boredom was. I may have stretched quarantine by extending social isolation to my car, but I figured I was just as isolated from people there as I would be at home. So I began to “meander.” My theme gradually became “Just because I don’t know where I am doesn’t mean I’m lost.” Some of my favorite photos were taken where I was most uncertain of my location.
“When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself.”
Mixed Media (watercolor markers/color pencil/sharpie)
This photo is a picture from one of the pages of my prayer journal where I focused on God’s agenda, asking him what he wanted to heal me from. Having an unprecedented amount of quiet time has allowed me to experience new levels of peace in my life. This page led me to understand my broken expectations are precious to Jesus, and if we don’t give those to him they become idols in our heart. He can not only heal you but give you insight into how those broken expectations honor him.
But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer. – Judges 10:15-16
In the early days of the pandemic in April, I was able to escape the loneliness and confinement of being a widow and walk out in the woods searching for early signs of spring. I found this photo reflective of both the death and life cycle but also the hope, rebirth, and restoration of life, in that God is still alive in the midst of all the chaos. We just need to look and become aware of His presence even in the darkest moments of our faith journey.
Becky Van Stensel
During COVID-19, I wrote a book on the life of Tamar called Cloak of Purity. The book is dedicated to all the Tamars, all who have been devalued and degraded. The message is, “God has not abandoned you.”
Tamar was defiled, not because she had been impure, but because something sacred had been desecrated. Although her social injury would follow her for the rest of her life, God had not abandoned Tamar. The story of Tamar’s life speaks to all who have been desecrated and abandoned. Like the beautiful, ruined cloak that Tamar had worn, a new purpose would be found for her life.
Craig Anthony Rybarczyk
As a husband and father of two beautiful children I have come to live more in the moment, being more engaged with my children and to live purposefully in Christ’s faith, hope and love. This photo I shot is of our 10 year old son Graham who said, ”Momma, I’m going to discover a cure for the Coronavirus.”
I’ve always carried a rock in my pocket with scripture written on it. During the COVID-19 lockdown, distractions were taken away and I spent a lot more time in prayer. God encouraged me to share these rocks.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, I have posted a rock with Bible scripture every day on Facebook. Many friends are non believers, but since I’ve been posting, these friends have asked me to continue to share them.
What God has taught me during COVID-19, is to let the light of Christ shine by whatever means he has given me!
Acrylic on Canvas
This painting expresses how life was different before and after COVID. The first layer of paint I used was deep blues and purples to create a calm night sunset that expresses life before COVID. After, I splattered white and black paint on it and painted the moon a yellowish, pink color to show how crazy and chaotic life has become in this storm. God has taught me through COVID that even though this season is difficult, there is calm after the storm and we just have to be patient and wait for the rainbow to come.
I believe from the onset of COVID-19 Coronavirus; our Nation has hungered for revival. Revival is the intention of this plague. My conviction is confirmed by all I see. Regardless of the extent of the pandemic, a return to God is the goal. Romans 2:4 is compelling in my life and the lives of many. Patiently He allows each part of our life as a transformative and directional gift. This gift lovingly draws each of us by the Holy Spirit to a closer relationship with God. He longs for us to set aside pride, fall on our knees, and seek His face.
Irene Bakhuyzen Wordhouse
Acrylic on Canvas
I did this painting at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a spontaneous painting with no planning. The Lord seemed to be impressing on me that He had His own agenda in this pandemic, to shake man’s world and to draw man’s attention back to Himself and away from our idols.
My inspiration was my life verse Isaiah 40:31 “Those who rely on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Words of wisdom I need each day as I face another day of the unknown. I have this painting hanging over my dresser so visually I am inspired “to mount up on wings of eagles” above the struggle and isolation.
Multimedia Collage on Wood
The Let Go collage depicts the release of negative thought patterns. During the pandemic, I identified some relational wounds stockpiled in my heart, pent-up hurt and anger festering on the inside. To let them go, I wrote notes, forgiving those who hurt me. I glued the notes in a wave pattern with transparent fabric, to symbolize releasing my resentment and grievances into the water. This healing exercise of letting go may not be easy, but even small steps of leaving the past behind produced in me a new sense of reconciliation and freedom.
Colored Pencil on Paper
As an essential worker during COVID-19, I didn’t have much free time to connect with friends online. Already exhausted from the extra hours on my physically demanding job, I found myself becoming quite spiritually exhausted with each moment I spent on social media.
My gift of empathy gives me understanding from all sides and while I’d hoped to both find and give encouragement there, it seemed no matter what I “said” in conversation, my words were taken as an offense. I couldn’t win with people so I chose to unplug and find my rest in Christ. Best decision ever.
Sherri Meines and Friends
Mixed Media on Wood
This piece was designed with the help of many friends who enjoy doing life together, after having to wait many months to gather because of COVID-19. We call our group the “Ladies Social Group” which includes many Go Getters and their helper friends. Even after being apart for many months, God’s love can still shine through in art and friendship.
Malachi 4:2 “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
Acrylic and Watercolor on Canvas
I like to paint during COVID-19, it encourages me to be creative and have fun. My art can encourage others, God gave me creative talents so I want to use them.
“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
Fabric on Stretchers
Malachi 4:2 “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” This verse just leapt out at me during our study of Malachi. Whether it be COVID or some other suffering, there will be healing! My art piece represents the sun radiating out throughout the universe.
The Calvary Church Art Committee
Purpose – The purpose of the Art Committee is to promote the visual arts as a tool to support worship and teaching at Calvary Church. We also want to encourage the engagement of visual art that complements our faith, with members of the church and surrounding community.
Mission – The Art Committee seeks to support God’s work here at Calvary Church with the management of its permanent art collection and by sponsoring temporary displays of visual art in the church. Through the support of the church’s Statement of Vision and these tasks, the committee will help to create and maintain an aesthetic environment that will enhance the spiritual and community activities that take place in our facility.
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.