Why In A Church?

I am often asked “Why is the church having an arts festival?  Isn’t that a strange place to hold it?” Well, the answer is an emphatic, “No!”  In fact, the church has long been at the forefront of supporting and promoting the arts. For centuries, the church kept artisans of all types – architects, painters, sculptors, glass workers, musicians, etc. – employed full time and sometimes for generations.  The great cathedrals of Europe, and even quite a few in America, are towering artistic masterpieces.  They are filled with stunning paintings, they were the driving force behind architectural revolution.  True, all were in the service of the church rather than the service of art, but the church recognized that people needed places filled with beauty in order to get a small glimpse of heaven.  Even more, the townspeople were fiercely proud of their cathedrals and churchs and the beauty they offered to the community.  They gave generously so that their city might have the most beautiful cathedral or church.  (One can argue that they did so out of coercion, but the end result is the same: towering monuments of religious art.) The church has continued its support of artisans up to the present day, though certainly not at the level that was once the norm.  So, why not regain some of that momentum?  Why not pick up the banner again and lead onward, encouraging and inspiring a new generation of artisans to create: this time for the sheer exhilaration of creating something of beauty to be shared with the whole community.  And all housed within the walls of the church. ...

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