On training Lutheran Artists

Jonathan Mayer of Scapegoat Studio recently published a blog post regarding arts education in WELS/ELS schools.   In it he featured my work as an artist and educator in a very favorable light.  I appreciate his encouraging words for me.  He calls for higher priority for art in the whole range of Lutheran schools.  Read his post, "Artist are made, not born" at this link.  

This reminded me of a similar article I wrote years ago.

Here is a link to an archived article I wrote for The Lutheran Educator in December of 2002.  You'll have to scroll down to page 50 to read the article.  I'll pull a few quotes here to trick you into going to read the article.

In it you'll find observations regarding art in scripture.

"The first words one encounters in the Bible depict God as maker of all things,"

It also explores Luther's views on art.

"Martin Luther dealt with fanatics who believed any image of God became an idol. “Luther was no iconoclast; works of church art, old works of pagan secular art, if properly used did not have to be smashed. What mattered was that Christ be glorified. What mattered was that Christians be edified. What mattered was that scripture be made available in a language the people understood”

And Luther's views on art in education.

"Luther’s view of art in education places it on the same plane with languages, history, literature, mathematics, and the sciences, all of which surround and are taught in conjunction with the Word"

Thoughts on the historical use of art in Christianity.

"It became the means of expressing Christian ideas and doctrines, in mosaics, paintings, stained glass, calligraphy, illumination of manuscripts, metalwork for vessels of the Mass, woodcarving, and textiles. It became a part of church architecture and centered around the doctrine and teaching of the Church. Later it allied with the whole of fine arts, influencing writing, music, and sculpture as well as painting. It remains a part of the life of the Church, depicting the truths of the faith."

Advice for art teachers

"Consider this. An art teacher must realize that artistic training can provide a means of exploring with wonder God’s complex work and exposing this wonder to others. Artistic endeavors allow students to offer their talents to God in gratitude."


"The art students that we eventually call 'talented' are simply the ones motivated enough to take on ever-increasing challenges"

And a dream for the future.

"Rather than depending on outside sources for art to decorate our sanctuaries and schools or fill our teaching materials, bulletins, and periodicals, we could have high caliber art from those in our fellowship. Two of art’s many purposes are to teach and to move emotionally (e.g. “A Mighty Fortress”). We can be producing artists in whom we can be confident to teach what we believe with their art, to make enlightening art rather than misleading or mistaken art."