If you regularly read Darrow Miller and Friends, you may have noticed that I have a heart for Christians in the arts. Especially I want to encourage young artists. I aspire to be a clarion call to raise up artists as balladeers to speak prophetically to culture. My post A Call for Balladeers sums up much of this thinking.
About six years ago I spoke of these things at a conference for educators in Brazil. A young guitarist, Paulo Ritzer, heard me. At the time he was getting little support from the church for the things God had put on his heart. God used my words of encouragement to impact his life. Paulo went on to found a center for the study of art and worldview called L’Abrarte.
Recently I traveled to Natal, Brazil, and had the privilege of seeing Paulo, meeting his wife, Ada, and enjoying an evening with some of the leaders of L’Abrarte. This small community of thoughtful, activist Brazilian artists was inspired by Francis Schaeffer and Schaeffer’s good friend, the famous Dutch Art Historian, Dr. Hans Rookmaaker.
The word L’Abrarte combines L’Abri (the Shelter) and the Portuguese word for art, arte. The term is also an acronym for The Rookmaaker Association for Studies in Art and Worldview. Paulo describes L’Abrarte as:
[A] Christian entity civilian, nonprofit organization that promotes and supports programs and initiatives aimed at research and development of creative, artistic, cultural, socio-educational and scientific aspects from the reflections and contributions from historian Art and thinker Hans Rookmaaker.
The Association has been developing educational work to encourage youth involvement through thematic retreats and seminars geared to the young, but also the training of teachers in the area of public art and music. In this perspective, we discuss and disseminate analysis tools of art, culture and worldviews in order to equip Christians to act decisively in the transformation of the public sphere through the values of the Kingdom.
L’Abrarte provides a multifaceted engagement with the community. They offer courses and workshops in singing, instruments, children’s musicals, drawing, painting, theater, and dance. They feature a series of programs on Art and Citizenship that explore the place of the arts and artists in society.
L’Abrarte also offers guided studies and conferences in the works of Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker. In addition they offer the community “themed retreats” that cover such subjects as beauty, faith in crises, spiritual formation, and art. They have a structured program SAFEC (Seminar in Christian Art and Faith) that deals with the intersection of art and the Christian faith. They also have a living galleria called Space L’ Abrarte where artists can gather for discussion and sharing their work and compositions.
In past posts we have highlighted other balladeers. Mona and Jeremiah Enna and their Culture House and Storling Dance Theater are highlighted here. Our Indian friend Stefan Eicher’s work is introduced here.
May the Lord increase the tribe of young Christian artists who understand the significance of the Biblical worldview and want to speak prophetically to their cultures.