Schloss Mittersill, StoneWorks, Creative Arts Europe, Crescendo, and Arts+ are pleased to present the following document, as a record of group and plenary sessions at the ‘European Arts Summit’ in May 2009, and of a follow up review meeting in September 2009.
Please note that the opinions, observations and strategies in the Summit report have been collated from the proceedings, but as such do not necessarily represent the opinions, policy directions or intentions of either Schloss Mittersill, StoneWorks, Creative Arts Europe, Crescendo or Arts+.
StoneWorks is a global arts initiative committed to fostering creativity and the imagination in the life and mission of the church by exhorting artists to pursue their gifting in Christ. It is not about establishing another arts organization, but rather acting as a catalyst to help form artists to reform culture.
Artists are encouraged to support one another in the exploration of their God‐given creativity across StoneWorks’ four focus areas of the Church, Missions, Academia and the Marketplace. The intention is for the growth of partnerships and shared resources to better serve one another as we seek to respond to God’s renewal and restoration of the arts.
Given the history of Europe as both a cradle of Christianity and a place of global significance in its contribution to the arts, it is with some dismay that Europeans of faith witness the diminution of the place and influence of art and artists in the life and faith of the Continent. The power of art and the artists was perhaps at its height in the Renaissance. We long to see a new renaissance where the artists once again take their rightful place as influencers, translators and contributors to the culture and as an avant garde, raising questions about our society and provoking a deeper reflection on what lies beneath the surface of our existence and our societies.
There is also a deep desire to heal the painful schism that has developed between the Church and the artists and for the Church to once again embrace the richness of all that artists have to offer within and outside the church context. At the same time the Church needs to embrace the ephemeral and elusive nature of the Spirit’s artistry and look at how academies can be revived through imaginative resourcing and partnering initiatives.
International Director of StoneWorks, Colin Harbinson, was the keynote speaker for the Summit, bringing a solid biblical perspective to the discussion of the arts in today’s contemporary culture.
Approximately 50 key organizational leaders from 15 European countries representing the spheres of the Church, Missions, Academia and the Marketplace attended the Summit to engage in dialogue, to network, and to be inspired and challenged by the conference teaching, discussion, debate and worship.
Outline of findings from steering group review, Basel, Switzerland, September 2009 At our review meeting in Basel at the end of September, the Summit steering group met over two days to intensively examine and discuss the rich and visionary input of the participants.
One of the advantages of networking leaders in the arts together from across Europe is that we learned of many projects and initiatives that are already progressing. Part of the way forward will therefore be to strengthen and add weight to some things that have been started, rather than start new projects.
One clear need that came out of the summit was ‘education’: In essence, the need for ‘the Church’ to be educated about culture and the nature and potential contribution of art and artists to ministry and Christian witness and the special needs of artists. Also for artists similarly to understand the nature of ‘church’ and the conservative attitudes often met there and to be educated in Biblical worldview as it relates to their daily work. We noted that there are a number of disparate initiatives and organisations which are fulfilling some of these education needs, but which are unlikely to be known outside a narrow circle. The idea of forming a European Art Institute (EAI) was proposed as an umbrella body to link these initiatives, create and gather a comprehensive set of training modules, exchange speakers and identify gaps was agreed. Further research will be undertaken to discover other initiatives which could be included.
Secondly we recognised the need to continue the work of the Summit to enhance the communication between and amongst networks of artists across the continent, so that developing issues can be tackled and ideas spread in the years ahead. To address this we agreed to form national ‘Roundtables’ of arts ministries. There will also be a central roundtable, currently the members of the steering committee, made up of key representatives from regions. It was proposed that the foundation for this structure will be the Arts+ model and will be called ‘Arts+Europe’.