The spring Caulkins Lectureship, April 7-9, focused on the artistic journey of Telling Your Story. On Friday, Scott Kolbo spoke during chapel then oversaw artisitic workshops in the evening.
If the art workshops offered during the Caulkins Lectureship had been graduating seniors, I would vote the dance class seminar Most Intense, maybe the miming class Quietest and the computer art class Most Technologically Capable. But I wasn’t expecting the drawing class to receive the vote for Messiest. Maybe Most Fun – which it certainly was.
The Caulkins Lectureship workshops offered last Friday provided several opportunities for Corban students to dabble in the arts.
In order to experience this rare offering to Corban students, I joined my artsy friend Kyle and we made our way to the drawing class at 6 p.m. (an hour early due to the limited number of seats).
Scott Kolbo, the director of the workshop, arrived a few minutes later to set up. We made small talk as he drew the outlines of human bodies onto art paper, turning AC4420 into something like a horrendous crime scene. Students started trickling in, wondering what kind of manslaughter they’d be required to participate in. Eventually, around 20 people arrived.
At 7 p.m. Scott kicked off the hour with a few tips. And explanations, which were definitely in order, as any crime scene investigator knows.
Scott introduced us to the concept of the Exquisite Corpse, an art piece centered on one human figure that is sliced into several pieces (which, counter-intuitively, can be a pretty sight), each piece drawn separately from the others. So, this was the deed which we were to perform.
Kyle set to work on a head while I began on a pair of feet, working carefully to bring a Bible verse into the piece somehow, as Scott encouraged us to do. I thought of Proverbs 1, which compares the person who always reads God’s word to a tree planted next to a river. So, the legs of my exquisite corpse would be trunks; the feet, roots.
Then, fifteen minutes later, the unthinkable happened. Yup, switch. The entire class had to leave their masterpieces behind and move to a new table with a new body. We managed to recover from this traumatic experience and get back to work, Kyle now working on feet and I trying to figure out how to add to a beautifully drawn heart.
At about this time, someone in the classroom discovered the charcoal sticks. As if dead bodies weren’t already messy enough, the entire class began finding ways to make use of this new and fascinating material – a material which ended up more often off the paper than on. Mental note: never use charcoal in the kids craft projects at church.
After several more switches, we found ourselves back at our starting points – almost unrecognizable now. It wasn’t what I’d hoped it would look like.
But the changes that three other people had made to my tree trunk feet looked pretty cool. Of course, there was tons of charcoal. And some jester-style diamond ribbons falling from the branches.
But that’s the way worship works, inside and outside the church. That’s the way art and expression work. We’re not individuals worshiping God; we are the Body of Christ.