Makoto Fujimura, of the International Arts Movement

Makoto Fujimura is the Creative Director of the International Arts Movement in New York City. Their stated vision is: IAM gathers artists and creative catalysts to wrestle with the deep questions of art, faith and humanity in order to inspire a community to engage the culture that is and create the world that ought to be.

If you are interested at all in faith and art, Fujimura is a person you should be aware of. He was recently mentioned in an article published in Forbes:

“I am a Christian,” says Fujimura, 46, who founded the nonprofit International Arts Movement to help bridge the gap between the religious and art communities. “I am also an artist and creative, and what I do is driven by my faith experience.

“But I am also a human being living in the 21st century, struggling with a lot of brokenness – my own, as well as the world’s. I don’t want to use the term ‘Christian’ to shield me away from the suffering or evil that I see, or to escape in some nice ghetto where everyone thinks the same.”

By making a name for himself in the secular art world, Fujimura has become a role model for creatively wired evangelicals. They believe that their churches have forsaken the visual arts for too long – and that a renaissance has begun.

A few more quotes from the article:

These artistic evangelicals, though still relatively small in number, are striving to be creators of culture rather than imitators.

“The Bible is full of abstraction,” said Fujimura

They sense a disconnect worshipping in churches bare of anything that’s visually arresting.

“The very parched nature of evangelical visual culture is making people who have grown up in this culture thirsty for beauty,” he said.

“If we as Christians believe that creativity and imagination is a gift from God, why have we neglected it for so many years?”

Fujimura and the others quoted in the article certainly echo my heart, to engage culture, to even create culture. As a creative Christian myself, I don’t want my art relegated to some safe Christian sub-culture, nor do I want my art reduced to a purely utilitarian purpose in worship. I want to engage the culture at large with my expressions of creativity. I want to be a voice heard round the world. It’s great to see Makoto Fujimura and the International Arts Movement on the forefront!

2 thoughts on “Makoto Fujimura, of the International Arts Movement”

  1. JenK says:

    Great Blog, Seth! I really liked this entry. I love looking at Christian art of centuries past, and how it was a true expression of their faith, adding incredible beauty to their churches. It wasn’t merely an “outreach tool”, but it was a part of them. I had a great experience a couple of years ago visiting a friend’s orthodox church here in town, and it was eye opening for me. They use all their senses in worship — icons of Biblical saints, rich colors, incense — they even kissed some of the icons as they entered the church. At first I was put of f by some of it, but throughout the service I had a heightened sense of being a part of the “community of saints” past and present, throughout time. My sense of God was much bigger throughout the worship. And it was because of the beauty and art around me. I realized how there had been a disconnect in my mind between what was spiritual and what was physical. It’s all related.

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