Our mission is to liberate Christian creativity.
Here’s our three-part plan of action to liberate Christian creativity:
“I love Renew the Arts, but I really love the guys who run it. I think their insight on my musical ability has certainly helped me mature as an artist . . . I had one of the most welcoming experiences of my life at Renew the Arts.”
– Josh Jackson, Sponsored Artist
“If I could sum up in one phrase how I feel everytime I’m with these guys, I would have to say, “It feels like I’m home.” The hospitality is beyond measure, and the sincerity they pursue in each project is unbelievable. Kindred spirits are a rare find especially in music, and these guys are the real deal.”
– Anthony Quails, Sponsored Artist
“The spirit and brotherhood make Renew the Arts my home. I only wish I could be there more. Thank the Lord for a music scene set apart from both the world and mainstream Christian music.”
– Sean Sullivan, Sponsored Artist
To accomplish our mission, we’ve partnered with some great folks:
Chalcedon Presbyterian Church
Christ Covenant Church
Town Center Music
So far, we've had the great pleasure of working on 13 projects for various incredible artists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Micah?
Micah Lee Stout (1977–2010) helped Renew the Arts co-founder Michael Minkoff formulate the concept for the Nehemiah Foundation for Cultural Renewal—a private think tank that eventually fathered Renew the Arts. Micah was our first sponsored artist—a singer-songwriter who had extraordinary difficulty finding a platform or getting support because gatekeepers within and without the church didn’t discern his artistic value. He and Michael built the project studio used for our first few projects, and there they began recording Micah’s first record, Without Reservations. Micah died of cancer in 2010 before his record was finished and before his artistic vision could be fully realized, but we at Renew the Arts carry on his legacy and share his zeal with a whole new wave of Christians in the arts. His influence is felt in everything we do.
What are “Non-Biblical Restrictions”?
“Non-biblical restrictions” refer to those limitations on artists made by Christians but not by God. They are any restrictions that God has not made explicit in the Bible. In other words, when a Christian record label or church requires that all of its artists refrain from exploring difficult, painful, or discouraging topics, this is a “non-biblical restriction” since God never made such a restriction in the Bible (for examples, see Lamentations, the prophets, Ecclesiastes, Job, many of the Psalms, etc.).
We do not believe that non-biblical restrictions are necessarily wrong or sinful (that’s why we call them “non-biblical” not “unbiblical”), but we think these restrictions have wreaked havoc in the Christian arts by excluding many artists from support. Many artists called by God to the arts cannot both obey the church’s non-biblical restrictions and properly fulfill God’s artistic calling for them. So when non-biblical restrictions become mainstream in the church, many artists who are legitimately called by God to make art find no support within their own Christian community. Therefore, in order to make the church a place for all of God’s artists, non-biblical restrictions on art need to be lifted.
Aren’t some restrictions on Christian artists good and necessary?
One of the main problems with most liberated Christian artists today is that they have been liberated outside the accountable community of fellow Christians. Renew the Arts does not wish to merely liberate Christian artists, but specifically to encourage the church to liberate its artists within her ranks. Artists may cross the line here and there, as they will do regardless. But what better place for them to work out their callings (with its trials, triumphs, and missteps) than from within the nurturing and admonishing space of the church?
For more on how to heal the divide between artists and the church, you can read this article:
Why should I invest in the arts when there are so many other more important things to invest in—like politics or missions?
Though we believe politics have importance, we believe politics are downstream from culture and the arts. Furthermore, we believe art is crucial to effective missions, since art has had and will continue to have a long-term function in the church’s prophetic and liturgical ministry.
For more on why the arts are crucial for political progress, please read this article:
For more on why art is crucial to the Gospel and missions, please read these articles:
How will my donations to Renew the Arts be used?
The majority of the donations that come into Renew the Arts go directly toward the creation of art. One of the reasons we rely so heavily on crowd-funding is to create a transparent and direct way for patrons to support the particular projects and artists they care about without worrying about whether the mediating charity is non-profit in name only.
A remarkably small amount of general donations have been necessary for supporting our infrastructure and administration due to careful stewardship and an organization-wide culture of volunteerism. In fact, for its first seven years, the president of Renew the Arts’ parent organization (The Nehemiah Foundation) worked entirely on a volunteer basis with no compensation whatsoever.
We realize that the only way for us to fulfill our mission is to continue to expand our operation, and the only way to expand our operation is to compensate our employees for their time. We know you know this too. But it has been of the utmost importance to us to ensure that every member of our organization would be doing this anyway—even without validation and even without support. We hope you agree that’s a unique culture and community worth supporting.
How do you determine which artists to support?
Our criteria for support are actually quite inclusive:
- You profess Christ as your Savior and your life does not obviously contradict that profession.
- You believe you are called by God to be an artist or artisan.
- We believe your art is not likely to be served by the current art market.
- We believe we are able to provide something to you that you can’t provide yourself (e.g., production assistance, studio space, materials, etc.).
If you meet those four criteria and you want our assistance, we will do everything we can to support you in the way we think will best serve your art, benefit the church at large, and steward our limited resources.
It seems like you sponsor mostly music. Does Renew the Arts plan to diversify its sponsorships?
We began accomplishing our mission with music for both strategic and providential reasons.
Strategically, music offers more “bang for the buck” than most other media for which a potential artist might need assistance. $20,000 would not get very far in a movie production, and, beyond that, most of that investment would be consumed in the making of the film. If the film were not well-received, we would have sunk your investment (and our organization) on a single project. On the other hand, $20,000 will buy you a working project studio, and most all of your investment could be used on future projects. By focusing on music in the beginning, we have been able to produce more projects, serve more artists, and be less dependent on the currently ambivalent market for authentic Christian art.
But part of our heavy investment in music has been providential. God just didn’t see fit to send us many visual artists or creative writers in the beginning, so we worked with whom he sent us. That’s changing now, however, and we are quickly diversifying. Our board now includes a successful sculptor and a successful film-maker, and we have two new creative writing projects coming out in 2017.