Two weeks ago, on September 20th and 21st, four members from the TMC Artist Circle had the privilege of attending the 2012 STORY Conference at Park Community Church. STORY brands itself as “fuel for the creative class,” but provides so much more! The two-day event brings in Christian speakers from around the country who are active in the arts. Writers, painters, musicians and filmmakers all gave their stories as inspiration for all those in attendance. Notable speakers from this year include Isaac Rentz, Bob Goff, Makoto Fujimura and Kyle Idleman, just to name a few. Two of the four volunteers who attended from the Artist Circle had this to share:
What did I love about STORY 2012? What didn’t I love?! I love that everyone is still excited about it – two weeks later I’m still seeing tweets and Facebook updates with quotes from the speakers and photos of the event. I loved the “kid in the candy shop” look in everyone’s eyes during those two days: The excitement brought about from being with other creatives, other Christians with the same passions, in an environment bursting with random things… a contortionist one moment, a string quartet the next. Who thought of randomly choosing four lucky attendees with a surprise lunch with four other strangers… who happened to be from Second City and dressed in costume?!
But the most awesome moments for me came from the speakers. They were inspiring and encouraging, and directed our thoughts to Christ and the beauty of creativity. There were too many “golden quotes” to be able to share, I would be hard pressed to choose just one. But I went away with three overarching themes: 1. Make some art for you own sake – something not subject to a goal or dictated by what others want to see or hear. 2. Take a risk, let go, be vulnerable and passionate in what you do – even if you crash and burn there is something good to be found there and those are the times when we rely not on ourselves the most, but on God. 3. It is the job of artists (especially Christian artists) to call attention to what could be – to show the difference between the grief that is and the hope of what could be – and in that we are God’s vessels.
STORY was an absolute blast! I’ve been to many other conferences for work in the past, but I’ve never felt so empowered and ‘full’ as when I left Park weeks ago. Being an animator, I was super geeked to hear Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, speak. I really enjoyed hearing Phil’s personal story and could really relate to some of his frustrations and successes in the business. Phil provided an engaging picture of what it looks like to walk in obedience to God while submitting all of our small plans and ambitions to His greater will. I really liked this memorable quote: “If I have given my life to Christ, where I am in five years is none of my business.” Wow. Talk about living a life of faith! Phil also told a small anecdote of how Bob the Tomato literally prevented a father from killing himself. After hearing Mr. Vischer speak, I feel incredibly convicted to live a life of purpose and to use my craft as a way to worship God and encourage others. As Phil quoted Mother Theresa, “There are no big great things, only small great things done with love.”
STORY is also a great place to connect with others. I was able to personally meet many artist that I respect and admire from afar via Twitter, etc. Volunteering also allowed me to connect with talented folks who are native to Chicago.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to Ben Arment and the entire team that makes STORY a reality. Being a volunteer not only allowed me to serve fellow artists, but really showed me the extreme attention to detail that went into making this event. Everything down to piping pleasant scents into the HVAC system was done with the intent of giving attendees the most premium and profound experience. Bravo!
Be sure to check out the photos we took at STORY on Flickr HERE.
Use the links below to connect with STORY: