Written by Kristyn Chapman. Media by Taylor Neal.
As Common Day of Learning quickly approaches, students are provided with countless new learning opportunities in the form of COR 401 senior capstone projects. The theme for this semester’s educational journey is “Cosmos and Creativity”, challenging seniors to explore their creative existence and how it fits into the larger story of God’s creative nature.
Seniors Caleb Loeppky, Emily Miller, Pierra Brown, Storm Sharrett, and Taylor Likes, COR Group 11, have spent their semester studying the very essence of creativity. As an opportunity to share their semester’s work with the community, they organized a workshop titled “Defeating the Block: Creativity Workshop,” featuring professors and resident artists, Jacob Amundson and Alexandria LaFaye, and Pastor of the Greenville First United Methodist Church, Shalom Renner. The workshop provided a forum to discuss the “life-giving” quality of creativity, teach methods to foster creativity, and respond to the many hindrances that might block the creative mind.
The group invited Shalom Renner, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Greenville, to speak about “Imago Dei”, being created in the “image of God”. Pastor Shalom began his talk in John 1:3, “through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made”, a great place to start when discussing creativity as it relates to the Christian faith. His point: God’s very nature is creative, and he has instilled that creativity in all of humankind. Creativity therefore can be an expression of Christian worship.
Some creatives, like Alexandria LaFaye, children’s author and professor of literature at Greenville College, are fated with an overflow of creative ideas, requiring a process of intricate refining to transform them into art. LaFaye keeps her mind fueled by collecting interesting tidbits of information, and studying beautiful and unusual things. She tucks these bits of knowledge away in her mind for later use in her writing. As a piece of advice, Alexandria urged those in attendance to “feed” the mind with film, literature, art, and ideas, in order to always have a stockpile of inspiration.
Of course, you cannot discuss creativity without addressing the creative “block.” Jacob Amundson, professor of art and digital media and director of campus film studies at Greenville College, imparted some wisdom for creatives dealing with the “block”. The creative block is simply resistance of some sort or another. Resistance can present itself in many forms, such as procrastination, fear of failure, fear of criticism, and many more. Amundson’s advice is to work through the resistance, however uncomfortable. Keep making things, even if you fail, because through the creative process you are learning skills and refining your taste. Often times, if you are afraid of sharing an idea, it means you are on the right track.
Creativity is a beautiful thing, unique to each individual, yet present in all of humanity. Explore it. Keep your mind thinking, processing, and considering new and unique ideas. Play, imagine, learn, and become a “co-creator with God”.