Updated: Aug 27, 2019
We want to invite you on a journey with us to explore arts funding through a biblical lens. But more than that we want to explore art and faith in a way that, together, we can expand our visions of what can be made and by whom.
The tithe is about seeing God. It's about witnessing how the creator holds all things together. It's about living into an expanded view of life.
We believe this expansion can liberate a cultural creativity that has become too dependent on narrow market-based goals.
We know we are dancing on a fine edge of fundraising and spiritual exploration. It is so easy to slip and/or be misinterpreted. But this type of dancing, we believe, is what artists are called to do.
If in this process of exploring the creative tithe you feel moved to support an artist in your community…amen…this is the point.
If you feel that you want to reach out to your community to engage your art practice…please…the more free art representing more voices in more communities the better. (We would love to hear about your journey!)
If you feel like you don't have a community, welcome to the club. Many of us feel caught between worlds or on the "outside" of systems that don't work for us. For you, I pray that the exploration of creative tithing, specifically, and art and faith, in general, can help you find your voice and your community.
Wouldn't it be great if wherever there was a tithing community in the world, there was a full-time artist working to reflect the soul of that community?
Or put in another way, wouldn't it be great if wherever in the world there was a tithe, there was art?
There is really nothing new about the act of tithing (3500 years old), or arts funding (you paint the cave, I'll go hunt), or arts funding in the church (Michaelangelo, etc.), or even giving your work away for free: monastic communities have held common purses and been making art for free for more than 1500 years.
Tithing is a communal practice that has been working in peoples lives for millennia. We want to take the healthy spiritual impulses of the tithe and live into them inside a world in which every thought and algorithm seems to be directed to our individual and monetized desires. We want to explore an alternative direction. We want to step into the graceful outpouring flow of this practice and see how it relates to the creative process.
What powerful creativity has laid dormant in the shadows of our market-based intentions? And by what, we also mean who has been hidden in these shadows.
We ask you to join us on this, spiritual, creative and financial journey as we wrestle with the value of art, who has access to it, and our notion of art as it relates to our understanding of God.
We ask you for a creative tithe: 1% of your income given to our art practice. We are receiving these creative tithes, not as individuals, but as small groups of artists (2 or 3) to remind us that we are supposed to look out for each other. Once this small group has received the predetermined amount that would support our practices, any extra money that comes to us, we would direct toward other creative tithing artists.
We give what comes to us for free as a small way to try to wrap our minds and actions around a God who both has given us everything we have as well as repeatedly given all for us. This grace and freedom to give and receive rather than buy and sell is a strange economics that we are learning from the spiritual practice of the tithe and from the teachings of Jesus.
No work of art comes out of nowhere. Our art and our faith are bound up in a process that involves all of us. We invite you and your experience and your vision to help us illuminate this path, this web of intertwined life that we call art and faith.
Again, we ask you for a tithe of your tithe, for your prayers vision, accountability, and instruction, but most of all we ask you to share in the faith that is required to create. Wherever you are. Whether it's supporting us, an artist in your community, or whether you're honoring the image of the creator God in your own spirit through the act of making... it's all the same.
Let's try this out.
Let's see if this works.