Join us in the Fellowship Hall on Friday evening April 8th for the next installment of the Makers Series, as we explore how the written, visual, and musical arts help us recognize the strangeness of those around us and the mystery of our Creator, even as we are called to draw close to both. Doors open and refreshments available at 6:30 PM; conversation begins at 7:00 and runs until 9:30.
Following the Apostle Paul’s word to the Galatians that, in Jesus, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, no male and female,” Christians often focus on the way Christ breaks down walls, crosses boundaries, and calls diverse people together in unity. Even more, we look to Jesus to bridge the gap between humanity and God the Father. But at the heart of this good news (and of the life of following Jesus) is the persistence of profound difference between people and—even more—between humanity and our creator God. After all, Paul’s statement does not undo what we hear in Isaiah 55: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
Instead, the necessity, mystery, and beauty of what Jesus accomplished on the cross are rooted in the way we are still “strange” to each other, to the world, and to our Maker—though in now-transformed ways. Because unity in the Kingdom of God does not seem to come about by erasing difference but by somehow accentuating and redeeming it, we must learn to wrestle with the ongoing fact of otherness to truly appreciate the meaning of reconciliation.
On Friday night, April 8th, the next Makers Series will feature painter Ryan Lauterio, poet Natasha Oladokun, and musicians The Fretful Porcupine--artists whose lives and creative work help us see, hear, and feel the reality and complexity of being other as an integral part of being human, and especially of being followers of Christ. By bringing incongruous sounds and visual systems together to create their art, by eloquently describing the spiritual distance many of us feel from God, and by living, themselves, as “others” inside and outside professional and faith communities, our Makers will help us think more creatively about the Christian call to stand apart from but also stand for the world God has made and is redeeming.
What is the Makers Series?
The signature program of makeRVA (Third’s collaborative outreach to and through Richmond’s arts communities), each edition of the Makers Series brings together three “makers”—a writer, a visual artist, and a musician—to discuss their history and practice as artists and believers, touching on a unifying theme. In a coffee house setting with refreshments available throughout, each guest presents for 20 minutes, followed by a moderated conversation between the three and the audience, seeking to find commonalities between each maker’s experiences and to draw out insights about faith, culture, and creativity.
More about our Makers
Our visual artist will be abstract painter Ryan Lauterio, a long-time instructor and mentor in VCU’s Art Foundations program. Ryan brings multiple, markedly different techniques of seeing and painting to each of his canvasses, the hard-edged and the painterly, the bright and subdued. Ryan’s MFA thesis project addressed whether art in a postmodern age could be a way to ask questions like, “Does God exist?” “Can we know for sure?” and “What might it mean to know this?” Both his visual work and his place in the RVA art world exemplify bringing ideas and communities together without overlooking their differences. For examples of Ryan's work, check out www.ryanlauterio.com
Poet Natasha Oladokun’s writing often addresses the possibility of knowing, speaking to, and hearing from a God who is so manifestly other than his creatures, exploring the place of poetry as a symbolic system that mirrors the way Christ bridges the gap between God and humanity: her words reflecting the Word. Natasha is an MFA candidate and Teaching Fellow at Hollins University, and writing is where she works out her own senses of closeness to and distance from God. But her poetry is also a place to name how language itself is both true and deceptive, useful and unsatisfying as a way to reach towards God and each other, to name who He is and who we are. You can read an example of her work HERE.
The Fretful Porcupine
Jake Armerding and Kevin Gosa return to RVA as our musical Makers, creating “roots chamber music” with the unorthodox combination of saxophones plus fiddle and mandolin. On his own, Jake is a prolific singer/songwriter (www.JakeArminding.com), while Kevin uses the lessons of jazz music to help organizations change to become more humane and effective (www.octant8.com). Together, they specialize in improvisational methods in creating and performing music, looking for distinctively “other” contexts than the commercial music industry to share the sounds they make with local communities. For more, check out www.thefretfulporcupine.com