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Christian Union
October 14, 2015

Christian Union at Dartmouth Hosts Art Showcase

Christian Union's ministry at Dartmouth sponsored an eclectic art showcase on campus this spring.

Students expressed their talents through a variety of forms, including visual arts, rap, and dance. With each brush stroke, dance step, and beatbox rhythm, God's creativity was expressed as the students shared their gifts.

"I believe that God is an artist," said Ian Chaffin '15.

Along with a friend, Chaffin performed an original song about lost love and how humans can be blinded to the good things in life. "The power of art is that it speaks directly to the human spirit, which is something God is always trying to do," he said.

The showcase gave students a chance to show lesser-known sides of themselves by sharing artistic passions and expressions.

For example, Chaffin said he was particularly surprised by a textured nightscape painted by a freshman.

Late Night Walk, by Kevin P. Soraci '18, was one of the paintings at the Art Showcase sponsored by Christian Union at Dartmouth.

"I would have pegged him as a realist, but I was blown away by the fluidity of his work. Experiencing his art allowed me to understand a different part of his personality that I hadn't yet come to know just by talking with him. It was quite a thrill," he said.

The event also encouraged boldness and reliance upon prayer and faith to step out in front of others, even while experiencing anxiety.

"The practice of taking risks and being vulnerable is incredibly important in how we relate to God," said Chaffin. "Understanding and being open with what's inside us is essential to allowing God to work in us."

Although all performers and artists were members of Christian Union and other campus ministries, the works were not explicitly spiritually themed.

"I emphasized with students that genuine creativity is more glorifying to God than just stamping a Christian label on something," said Zach Albanese, Christian Union's ministry director at Dartmouth. Albanese explained that art doesn't need to be overtly Christian or evangelistic to be an expression of love for the Lord.

Shefali Gladson, a junior from Mumbai, India, beatboxed her way through a rap song with her friend Gricelda Ramos '18. She said the showcase helped her think about what it means to worship God and demonstrated that worship is more than singing with a band at a church service. "I was so blessed by the dancers who worshipped the Lord with their movement, and the artists who worshipped with their painting," she said.

According to Gladson, people have a responsibility to use their gifts and talents for God's glory, even if it means stepping out of a comfort zone. "If one person was blessed by it, that makes it worth it," she said.

Both Chaffin and Gladson said they received positive feedback from the event, and some students are already setting their sights on next year's show.

As students looked back on this year's event, they remembered more than the accolades and applause. Instead, they remembered the significance of sharing their talents with others, and many expressed a deeper appreciation for the ultimate Creator of all beauty.

"It was wonderful seeing the different talents the Lord has given to each of us," said Gladson. "I can only imagine what this world would be like if everyone used their abilities to glorify Him."