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Makers Series | Welcome

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Join us in the Fellowship Hall on Friday evening October 27th for the next installment of the Makers Series, an evening focused on the the arts as a form of welcome, and the people who welcome others into creative life, as well.

Doors open at 6:30 PM; Program begins at 7:00

The Art of Welcoming

The words “welcome” and “hospitality” have much in common.  But where “hospitality” suggests settling-in and hanging out in comfort, “welcome” has a more transient or transparent quality: a welcome is not an end to itself, but an offer to move from outside to inside, an invitation pointing to something beyond itself. The next edition of the Makers Series looks at arts (and artists) that likewise open doors to places, communities, and stories—images, sounds and words whose aesthetic excellence is the means rather than the ultimate ends of their makers’ purposes. This art builds connections as much as (or more than) it than makes statements. In addition, each of our WELCOME guests has also created contexts for other artists to find their voices, express their gifts, and connect with fellow practitioners in their fields—another sort of creative hospitality.  Photojournalist and editor Bill Bangham, Emmy-award-winning composer John Keltonic, and writer/teacher Sonja Livingston will help us see the power of the arts as invitation into new places, stories, and relationships, and ways to help us be more welcoming, ourselves. 

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. 



Bill Bangham

While the images made by photojournalists on assignment can be intensely beautiful, much of their power comes by pointing to the stories behind the pictures.  We see these images and we want to know“Who is this person? Where is this place? What is happening here?”  Bill Bangham is a photographer, writer and editor who worked in every US state and over 70 countries during his 35-year career.  His work for several Christian magazines has been recognized with major awards in both secular and religious competitions. They include Pictures of the Year international and the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism awards, in which the missions-focused magazines he led competed with publications such as National Geographic, Time, Sports Illustrated, and German Geo.  Bill was also photo editor for Cape Town 2010: The Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization.   

Along with his photojournalism work, Bill’s career has been equally focused on his love for forming and nurturing communications teams with professionalism, passion, and excellence. During his tenure at the International Missions Board, Bill was founder of The Academy, an institute for advanced communication arts and strategy. He’s served as faculty and judge for the Southern Short Course in News Photography, the Virginia News Photographers Association, and on the staff and faculty for the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference. He currently serves as a teacher at the School of Photography, University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii, and for the internship program at Hillside Missions in Richmond.


John Keltonic

Like visual images, music can be deeply rewarding as the focus of our aesthetic attention.  But music can also be a way to set the stage for a bigger story, and—especially when it goes almost unnoticed—guide our thoughts and emotions in unexpected ways.  John Keltonic has been composing award-winning original music for television and films for over 20 years, in myriad styles and for many different contexts. He has worked for networks including NBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, BBC, Learning Channel, and CNN; he’s had works commissioned or performed by the London, Atlanta, Richmond and many other Symphony Orchestras; and documentary film-maker Ken Burns is among John’s many commercial clients.  He’s also won Emmys and been nominated for an Academy Award. John’s understanding and commitment to the way the musical soundscape of a film, a television show, or even a museum space can help viewers and visitors connect with each particular narrative has led him to create everything from lush orchestral scores to minimalist soundtracks. And, Keltonic’s creative work has also allowed him the opportunity to create spaces of welcome for other artists, as well—giving studio musicians a place to connect and do their work.

Details and samples of John's work are available at


Sonja Livingston

Somewhere between narrative, essay, memoir, and poetry, creative non-fiction is writing that, again, invites readers into other people’s stories (including the authors’) and helps us see them as more than oddities, or diversions from our own lives, or tools to get a message across—but rather as places we can explore and connect with our own lives.

Sonja Livingston has published three books, along with having her work appear in multiple journals and anthologies, and has received multiple awards and grants.  Her most recent book, Ladies Night at the Dreamland, combines history, memory and imagination to interact with and illuminate the lives of fascinating American women from the past. Her book, Queen of the Fall uses memory and personal experience to consider the lives of girls and women she’s known more personally. And Sonja’s first book, Ghostbread, won an AWP Book Prize for Nonfiction and has been adopted for use by classrooms around the nation.

Offering welcome to both literature and the craft of writing in her own classroom as well as through her work, Sonja teaches creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, and in the study abroad program through the University of New Orleans in such places as San Miguel de Allende, Edinburgh, and Cork.

More details and excerpts available at