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John Skillen’s book calls Christians to come together as one
body and enrich art culture in the church. Putting Art (Back)
in its Place equips laity and clergy to think historically about
the vibrant role the visual arts have played—and could again
play—in the life of the church and its mission.
Most Christians today view art from a distance: Do not touch!
In frames and galleries, art is walled off from the rest of life.
Christian discussions of art focus primarily on artists as lonely
dreamers and encourage training artists in technique, while
leaving them up to their own devices in deciding what to create
and how to keep food on the table.
Yet for a long time, artwork assisted communities in performing
actions that defined their corporate work and identity (their
liturgies). Art touched the entire community: the artist,
commissioning patrons, advisors who articulated beliefs and ideas,
and representatives of the community for whom the art was made.
The whole body of Christ played a part in the creation and use of
art that said: Touch me and see!
In order for Christians to foster a vibrant culture of the arts, we
must restore and cultivate active and respectful relationships
among artists, patrons, scholars, communities and the art they
create. Putting Art (Back) in its Place equips laity and clergy to think
historically about the vibrant role the visual arts have played—and
could again play—in the life of the church and its mission.