mas·ter
/ˈmastər/
noun: master; plural noun: masters
One who has or shows very great skill or proficiency.

men·tor
/ˈmenˌtôr,ˈmenˌtər/
noun: mentor; plural noun: mentors
An experienced and trusted adviser.

m&ms
/em (ə)n ems/
noun
A candy treat; A nugget of goodness

M&Ms
/em (ə)n ems/
noun
Engage Art’s Masters & Mentors

As you probably know by now, Engage Art’s goal is to:

 (1) help artists, both personally and professionally.

 (2) reintroduce artists and the church.

Ned Bustard (Graphic Artist) at CIVA 2019

Valuable Advice From Experienced Sources

One way we plan to do this is to highlight successful artists and business people each month who work in the arts. We’re calling this program “Masters & Mentors.” We will be featuring artistic and business excellence (Masters). We hope their stories and interaction with them will provide valuable advice from an experienced source (Mentors). You can encounter each M&M across our website and social media channels. 

Through this program, you will meet some pretty spectacular people. Some of them are well known in certain circles. All of them are masters of their craft. At least, they are now. But they were also all beginners at one time. Every one of them has faced challenges that seemed impossible. Each of them has failed, probably more times than they have succeeded. They have all learned from the perspectives and careers of others, and now it’s time for them to pass along their hard-won wisdom.

What To Expect

Some other things they have in common: 

They are all Christians. 

As a faith-based art contest, it is vital for us to confirm the existence of excellent artists and arts-adjacent people who happen to be Christians. Sometimes their work is obviously based on or informed by their faith; sometimes, it’s not. There is a persistent cultural truism that “Christian artists” should not be taken seriously. Somehow, the thinking goes, their beliefs prohibit them from creating work of depth or interest to the culture at large.  Is there some “Christian art” that is didactic, pedantic, and of a lesser quality than is ideal? Of course! But there is also a whole universe of art by Christians, sometimes inspired by Scripture, that is culturally relevant and sets a high bar, conceptually, technically, and artistically.

They will not be perfect and cannot be all things to all people.

Sometimes we all hesitate to hold up a person as an example because we are afraid there might be areas of their lives where they may not be a good example. The Christian community, especially, is well aware that nobody is perfect. As with all things Engage Art, we are looking to promote unity within the body of Christ, not uniformity or division. Take from our materials what is useful to you, and pass by anything that is not. The elements that speak to you may be different than what will help another person on their path.  

Be on the lookout for our first Master & Mentor this month—Ned Bustard. Ned is a graphic designer, printmaker, author, children’s book illustrator, and all-around fantastic artist. He also is the creative director at Square Halo Books and curator of the Square Halo Gallery. He serves on the boards of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art and The Row House. We caught up with him at the Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) conference in June 2019 at Bethel College. We were especially excited to ask him about Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups, the compilation of art, Scripture, and commentary he edited. Expect to see a concise video version of our interview with Ned soon!

Is there someone you think would make a good Engage Art Master & Mentor? Let Teresa know at tcochran@engageart.org.