I’ve included here examples of actual artworks that have been submitted to and hung in Christian churches were I have hung an exhibit. The following examples should not have ever been even considered by a review committee and are to be avoided by staff and pastors should they decide to hold a fine art event. Print the list and keep it as a reminder when planning your own event.
- Wet paintings. Need we say more? Alright then, we will. A wet painting is an accident waiting to happen. These are easily damaged and if people rub up against them, they can damage their clothing. Oil paint is not easy to remove from any surface.
- Unframed works on paper
- Framed artworks without hooks and wire
- Sculpture that will break easily if a child should happen to touch them. A “Do Not Touch” sign will not be paid attention to by an unattended baby that can not read, let alone one that can. Put fragile works behind glass or hang these up higher on the wall.
- Topics addressed by artists that are not “child friendly.” Most parents will not tolerate topics about violence or nudity unless these are traditionally represented within the context of a Bible story. (Even then, they still will raise a protest.) I know that this is a touchy subject, but some subjects are better addressed outside of church environments where children don’t participate. I myself, produce work along these lines, but never do I submit it to a church art exhibit. These are best reserved for perhaps a show in a seminary, college, or public forum meant for adults. The only exception to the rule would be the “Passion Story.” This subject I would insist of parents to tolerate at all times. It is essential to the vitality of a Christian church that they comprehend the death and resurrection of Jesus. This a core belief of the church, taught by God, throughout Old Testament prophesy and through the New Testament accounts given by disciples and believers. If God had meant for it to be unimportant, He would have excluded it from the scriptures. But, He didn’t and so logic would follow that we shouldn’t.
- Artworks that may perhaps cause physical injury to visitors. Make sure heavy artwork is stable and or hung to avoid injuries. If the artwork has too many sharp edges, be certain that a child can not rub against it.
- Visual Arts in Church: Making the invisible Word visible
- Why Art Should Matter to Christians
- How to Discourage Artists in the Church