"A 'Christian creative' is a person who has been given a talent or gift to use for Kingdom purposes to glorify God," said conference co-director Kathy Bruins.
The April 23-24 conference with its "Quench" theme may be just the catalyst needed to take a creative leap.
Three years ago Victoria Chapin attended her first ever arts conference. "Not only did I learn valuable information for my creative journey, but I was moved spiritually," she said. The Zeeland, MI woman was so enthused she volunteered to be on the planning team for this year's event.
"Conferences like this have given me tools and connections needed to have my first book published this year!" Chapin added.
The two day event is sponsored by "The Well," a faith-based equipping and refreshing ministry founded by Bruins specifically for Christians in the creative arts.
"When I first figured out I wanted to be a writer, I decided to attend a conference to see what it was all about," said Gene Koon, a social worker from Wyoming, MI.
"It helped me learn parts of writing not taught in classrooms, and helped me see I wasn't the only one who had the first-time jitters," Koon recalled. He has since completed several novels and is working on another.
"The conference workshops are geared toward helping people take the next steps in whatever their area of interest," said Bruins. Workshop tracks feature Art/Illustration, Beginning and Intermediate Writing, Acting/Screen-Writing and Speaking.
Foundational elements for writers are publishing and marketing, which are included among the work sessions. Visiting literary agents, editors and publishers will be available for one-on-one meetings. Networking opportunities, so important in finding outlets for writing or other creative endeavors, are part of the program.
The keynote speakers reflect the diversity of the "Quench" approach.
Eve Marie Everson is an award-winning novelist who also works with various publishing houses. She's director of two major Christian writer conferences, and is president of Word Weavers International, a faith-based writers group. (Her latest novel, "Dust," debuts this month).
The other major guest is Zena Dell Lowe, an actress, writer and producer who owns Mission Ranch Films, an independent movie production company. She also heads a ministry called Storytellers Mission. Lowe is leading several of the conference's acting and screenwriting workshops.
Among the Conference faculty are Cheri Cowell, owner of EABooks Publishing; Jan Maureen, a mixed media collage artist and abstract painter; and Tim Beals, a local writer-agent and publisher with Credo Communications.
An arts celebration/reception on Friday evening includes an "open mic" experience for attendees and faculty to share their "art". Night-owl sessions offer spiritual connections to the arts, with titles such as "Worship and Creativity." (You can see the full list of workshops at online)
NAVIGATING THE HURDLES
Bruins says the greatest need she hears from writers and other creatives is overcoming fear. "If they can work on that first, (then) that frees them up to do what God has called them to do. And we have a ton of resources to point them in the right direction."
Even though Bruins is a veteran writer of 20-plus years, her memory of those uncertain early days is vivid.
"I was scared, and I had a one-on-one appointment with a noted author and all the doubts came rushing in," she said of her first conference opportunity. Determinedly, Bruins kept the meeting and discovered the author was looking for female ghost writers to assist his writing clients.
"So that's where I started," she said. "Go to those conferences and appointments because you never know what's going to happen."
WORKING ON DETAILS
The Well's first conference was held in 2018. Last year's event fell victim to pandemic restrictions. This year the sessions will be hybrid – both livestream and in-person, with differing price structure. (See details below).
"We'll be following all COVID-19 guidelines with adequate spacing, masks and sanitizers everywhere," said Bruins, who attended a conference earlier this year which successfully met safe practice regimens.
Koon is also helping with conference logistics. "I think it's great they're adding speaking, artistry and drama while still having topics like novels, devotionals and fiction and non-fiction (writing)," he said. "Drama and screenplays are a growing field, especially in the Christian market."
Chapin is similarly pleased. "Without much initial experience as a writer, conferences like this have opened up whole new experiences for me," she said.
[ A $50.00 in-person conference discount is available for our readers at the following link
https://seeyouatthewell.net/registration/ Choose the "gifted registration" option and enter the coupon registration code: 2021CONF50VC]
"The Well" - a faith-based conference for "creatives" with the theme "Quench."
Keynote addresses, dozens of workshop topics, arts celebration/reception, worship, networking and other meeting opportunities.
Fri-Sat. April 23-24, 2021 at South Harbor Church, 1907 64th St. SW, Byron Center, MI.
Registration begins 8am Fri. - final session concludes 4pm Sat.
Cost: $99.00 Livestream
On-site meals extra. Visit www.seeyouatthewell.net