First United’s Celebration of the Arts Extols Creative Gifts from God

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Celebration of Arts 2016 235. 1Catherine McClung’s “Birds of the Bible” was the 2015 first place winner.The winter doldrums stand a good chance of being dashed for those who experience First United Methodist’s 43rd annual Celebration of the Arts (COF).

The Feb. 12-24 juried spiritual arts festival will display artwork submissions from 190 artists who live within a 150-mile radius of First United, located in downtown Grand Rapids at 227 East Fulton Street.Admission to Celebration of the Arts is free and open to the public.

Starts Feb. 12 with awards presentation and more

This year, 294 submissions of artwork were entered into the competition with a single juror deciding first, second and third prizewinners as well as honorable mentions during the first night of COF scheduled for Feb. 12 during what is billed as the artists’ reception.

This year’s juror is nationally recognized artist and signature member of the National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society Mark Mehaffey. He has selected 127 pieces of art from the 294 entries, according to Eric Strand, the church’s executive director of worship, music, and the arts.

Different gifts, same Spirit

COF mirrors I Corinthians 12:4: “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them.”

Artistic expression is a gift of God and we share God’s creative gift because it resonates in us whether it’s the visual or musical arts,” said Strand.The Celebration of the Arts is in synchrony with the congregation in how we live our lives. And it’s opportunity for us to be supportive of the arts community and give artists an outlet for their expression that might never be celebrated in a spiritual or sacred context.”

Celebration of the Arts’ reputation precedes itself with area artists, added Strand.

“There are a core of artists who enter year to year,” he said. “Some of them are very well known names in the Grand Rapids area who often enter. I would image three-fourths have likely entered before and 25 percent are new entries.”

COF is not limited only to works of art on canvas or sculptures but dynamic music as well.

Here is a breakdown of COF’s schedule to help shake-loose the wintry weather blahs:

Art exhibit hours, open to the public, Feb. 13 – 23daily from 10- a.m.-6 p.m., and Feb. 24 from 10 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Artists’ reception, open to the public, Friday, Feb. 12 from 7-9 p.m. pm in First United Methodist’s Wesley Hall. Includes jazz, special desserts and presentation of awards.

Celebration Sunday Worship, Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m.

Celebration of the Arts Gallery Walk-Through, Sunday, Feb. 14 from 9:15-10:15 a.m. and 1:45-2:45 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 17 from noon-1:00 p.m. Adults are invited to experience the show through the insight of artist Nancy Clouse, retired faculty member from Grand Rapids Community College.

A Celebration of Jazz Concert by Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with vocalist, Edye Evans Hyde, Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra is West Michigan’spremiere big band jazz ensemble. That was recently featured with top jazz solo artists Phil Woods and Randy Brecker. They will join with jazz vocalist Edye Evans Hyde. Free will offering.

Celebration Sunday Worship, Sunday, Feb. 21 at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m., a dynamic worship service featuring a Dixieland band presenting jazz music in the New Orleans tradition of Mardi Gras.

A Celebration of Brass with the Beaumont Brass Concert, Sunday Feb. 21at 3 p.m.Free will offering.

Invitational Guest Exhibit by the Crossroads Bible Institute inmate art program displayed in the church’s main floor gallery.


Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Related Articles

No Related Articles Found

home app07 envelope
Submit News
RSS Feed
home app09 playVideos
faith-buttonPlease consider helping us by contributing to our publication. 

Donate directly or advertize your business on this site or in our newsletter.  It reaches thousands across West Michigan.