2018 European Artists Network

Are beauty and art mere luxuries? Or is there a greater purpose – one that echoes God’s creation and redemption? What kind of help does the European Christian artist need to fulfill his calling?

Every European artist who follows the Lord Jesus has been granted talents and the responsibility to use those talents for the building up of the church, the betterment of society, and the furtherance of the Gospel. As they come together, they are encouraged to pursue their artistic endeavors with greater insight, zeal, and support.

The European Artists Network provides a haven where Christian artists gather in community for relationship, spiritual nourishment, deep thinking, professional growth, and strategic possibilities. The network functions similarly to a medieval guild, where Christian artists are encouraged and mentored in what they do and are equipped to improve and think critically about their engagement with society and the church. The network emphasizes relationships and connections, linking artists and artist groups across Europe with one another. Come and join us!


Network Leader

Charles David Kelley is Latvian-American, citizen of both countries. Born in Los Angeles, he has lived in Oregon since 1980. His professional training is in Bible, theology, and missiology. He began ministering in Latvia in 1985. Before founding Bridge Builders International, an Oregon based mission that focuses on Latvia, in 1994, Charles served in pastoral ministry in California, Texas, and Oregon for 21 years. He is chairman and director of BBI’s Latvian affiliate, “Partners.” He serves as Dean of International Relations at Baltic Pastoral Institute in Riga. Charles is founder of the Imago Dei Artists Network in Latvia and co-founder of the imagiNATIONS Annual Art Festival for Estonia and Latvia. He is a member of the Arts Centre Group in London and is the LausanneARTS Advocate at Large for Europe. Charles is an author, pianist, and painter, having studied at the feet of two masters, professors both, from the Latvian Academy of the Arts. He lives in Latvia 4-5 months per year. He has been married to Nancy for 40 years and has four grown children and nine young grandchildren.


Network Speakers

Jerry Root is a Professor of Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and serves as the Director of the Evangelism Initiative. Jerry is a graduate of Whittier College and Talbot Graduate School of Theology at Biola University; he received his PhD from the Open University. Jerry is the author or co-author of numerous books on C.S. Lewis, including The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis: An Introduction, with Mark Neal, C.S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: An Investigation of a Pervasive Theme, and The Soul of C.S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-six of His Best Loved Writings. Jerry is the co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism and co-editor, with Wayne Martindale, of The Quotable C.S. Lewis. He also teaches graduate courses (MA in Evangelism and Leadership Program) and undergraduate courses (Christian Formation and Ministry Department) at Wheaton College. In addition, Jerry has been a visiting professor at Talbot Graduate School of Theology and Biola University from 1990 to the present. He and his wife, Claudia, have four grown children - all of whom are married - and thirteen grandchildren.


Delta David Gier has been called a dynamic voice on the music scene, recognized widely for his penetrating interpretations of the standard symphonic repertoire, passionate commitment to new music, and significant community engagement. Orchestras Mr. Gier has conducted include the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. In Europe, his engagements include the Bergen Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Symphony, and the Bucharest Philharmonic, along with many other orchestras in Italy, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. He studied at the University of Michigan under the renowned conducting teacher Gustav Meier, along with studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival. He was a Fulbright scholar in eastern Europe from 1988-90. He has chaired the music jury of the Pulitzer Prize and is a frequent panelist for the League of American orchestras. The Lakota Music Project was developed under Gier’s direction to address racial tensions between Native Americans and whites in the region the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra serves. Other engagement projects with the SDSO have included Arab, Chinese and Sudanese/Somali refugees.


Liviu Mocan is a Romanian artist living in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania. The rich Christian legacy that he inherited from his parents, from church, and from mature artists and theologians has guided his philosophy of life and formed the essence of his creation. His many and varied works – which can be can be found exhibited in private collections, indoor and outdoor, on all continents – are a testimony to his commitment to the visual expression of his beliefs. He is currently developing various art projects centered around the major themes of the Bible while experimenting with various materials and new technologies. Actively involved in his artistic community, he strives to be a witness among Romanian artists.


Owen Brown is the UCCF Team Leader for Wales and South West England, which aims to resour ce, train, and mature students in the Christian Unions across the regions. One of the high points of his job is seeing bold Christian students living and speaking for Jesus in the heart of their universities and colleges. If they do it creatively, even better! Prior to working for UCCF Owen worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Wales, the Royal Collection, and the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He has spent nearly a decade working in the fine art world specialising in Neo-Impressionist art.


Network Programme

Day 1

For the Beauty of the Church
Charles David Kelley

What does God say about art and artists? Throughout history, the arts in all their forms have mirrored cultural change and even injected voice into our theological understanding. After introducing the purpose and goals of the network, this session will examine the convergence of art, culture, and faith from a Biblical perspective.


C.S. Lewis and the Objectivity of Art
Jerry Root

C. S. Lewis was an objectivist. His objectivism is not to be confused with Enlightenment Rationalism. Lewis’s objectivist commitments are tethered to Revelation, both General (revealed in Nature) and Special (revealed in Scripture). Lewis makes his most substantive case for objectivity in The Abolition of Man, and gives evidence for his objectivity in many of his other books. He applies this objectivity to intellectual and moral judgment and also to judgments of Beauty and Art. He was aware that knowing about objectivity conceptually is only part of the process to making good judgments; consequently there is a need for epistemological verification and skill in the application of principle. This seminar sets forth Lewis’s thoughts in matters of objectivity in aesthetic judgment.

Day 2

Is God Beautiful?
Delta David Gier

Is God even interested in beauty? Is God expressive? Ridiculous questions, to be sure, but if the answer is yes - what are the implications for us? This preliminary session deals with the foundations of a Christian aesthetic, from the beauty and creativity of God in creation and His Word to how we can apprehend its depth and breadth through the contemplation of works of art. Let's explore how we are to wisely and properly think of artistic expression.


Art as Contemplation
Delta David Gier

The greatest artistic masters of the past saw themselves as participating in something much larger than themselves. Individual self-expression is largely a 20th-century construct, divorcing art from its true and highest function: contemplation - artistic, philosophical, and, at its essence, always religious. We have lost touch with this foundational aspect of art in our entertainment-saturated culture - how are we ever to learn to look at/listen to/read art in a meaningful way, much less ascertain its best and rightful place in Christian worship and evangelism?

Day 3

Mirrors for Heaven
Liviu Mocan

Renowned sculptor Liviu Mocan will focus on the fascinating topic of mirrors that reflect a Creator. What is the ultimate purpose of the universe and life? How can artists reflect God through who they are, what they do, and what they possess? Emphasis will be given to personal character, relationships, the creation of art, and material and spiritual possessions.


The Act of Creation: Reflexion of the Reflection
Liviu Mocan

In this session, Liviu shifts his focus to the process of the creation, exhibition and collaboration with others on major artistic projects which glorify God in the public space. This process requires the artist to recognize and value the importance of co-laboring with God. As ideas are generated and objects of art are created, collaboration continues with those whom God has gifted with administrative and management skills, along with a passion for the vision reflected by the artist. Liviu will illustrate these principals by describing the foundations of the “Five Solas,” which will be exhibited in a public square in Cambridge, UK July – December 2018.

Day 4

Van Gogh: Communicating a Jesus Narrative
Owen Brown

Vincent Van Gogh was an extreme critic of the Christian Church, yet he never ceased to regard its founder as sublime. To him, Christ was “a greater artist than all other artists.” In this session, we will explore how he expressed this admiration in his paintings. We will consider Van Gogh’s innovative dialogue with Biblical motifs and narratives, learning by his own work and also contemplating those of his predecessors and contemporaries including Rubens, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Millet, Gaugin, and Puvis de Chavannes. Finally, we will investigate the implications for Christian artists in the 21st century: How can we communicate winsomely a gospel perspective in our art? Can issues of faith and contemporary practice be allied?


Where do We Go From Here?
Charles David Kelley

This final session will begin with a review of everything that was covered earlier in the network. Participants will have the opportunity to not only reflect on what they have learned and the relationships they’ve developed, but also to share ideas and principals. They will then be led through the process of drafting a document for themselves as we simultaneously create one for the group.


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