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The Makers Series | Neighbor

Join us in the Fellowship Hall on Friday evening November 20th for the next installment of the Makers Series, as we explore how the written, visual, and musical arts help us recognize and love our neighbors.

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

“Who is my neighbor?”

In Luke 10:29, a lawyer wishing to test the Lord and justify himself asked Jesus this question, prompting Jesus to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan.  While the lawyer was looking for a list of the kinds or classes of people he was obligated to care for (and also, therefore, the kinds he was allowed to ignore or mistreat), Jesus gave him a story, instead.  That story upended the lawyer’s categories of worthy and unworthy people, but also directly challenged him to take action: to notice and show mercy to all he might meet along the road—to see even his enemy as his neighbor.  Jesus used an imaginative act—a work of art--to reframe and reform community.

On November 20th, we’ll welcome three local artists to the Fellowship Hall for our next edition of the Makers Series, picking up on the way contemporary works of art (and artists) can also help us rethink “neighbor” and make spaces to connect and care for them.  

Making art (and being a neighbor) often begins with paying attention—noticing what and who are immediately around us and wanting to know more.  Writer Tom Allen excels in seeing people and situations that often get overlooked, but also at using the humor, irony, and absurdity of everyday situations to awaken compassion in his readers.  A graduate of the University of Richmond, Tom is the Director of Print Communications for the Virginia Education Association and a frequent contributor to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Style Weekly, and other local and regional periodicals.

If the first step of rethinking neighbor is to include groups we’d have overlooked before, the next step is to ask more probing questions: who are these people around me?  What makes them tick?  How do I come to know this person as an individual made in the image of God?  Perhaps no form of art presents individual identity and personality more directly and forcefully that the portrait, and portraitist Stanley Rayfield excels at presenting the human face in a way that makes the viewer want to know more about the people he represents on canvas.  A graduate of VCU’s School of the Arts, Stanley is a popular teacher as well as painter, and his portrait of Jesus was acquired for the permanent collection of the VMFA

Finally, artists can connect us with our neighbors in physical as well as social space—they not only respond to and re-present the local scene, they can be (literally) instrumental in re-shaping community by making places where people meet and come to know each other.  Musician John Gonzalez del Solar grew up in Richmond and trained at VCU before moving to Hawaii as bassist for the Navy Band. It was there that he learned to play and repair ukuleles before returning to RVA with his wife, Genie, to open Fan Guitar and Ukulele on Main Street. Making music, providing lessons and repair services, and creating a space for community are all parts of how they practice being neighbors through the arts.

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. 

Earlier Event: November 18
Fall Thanksgiving Feast
Later Event: November 21
Bless Richmond