Many of the BJU faculty are involved in the community. Several School of Religion faculty are also pastors. Many music teachers are involved with orchestras and choirs.
Jared Stanley, a Division of Art and Design teacher at BJU, is an active participant in the Contemporary Print Collective, which is a group of 27 printmakers in the Upstate. I had the opportunity to speak with Stanley about his involvement with the CPC at its annual print fair October 26–28.
According to its website, the CPC’s “mission [is] to create, exhibit, collaborate, and educate through the matrix and within the contemporary dialectic of art.” The Collective meets regularly to discuss printmaking techniques and share information about the various types of printmaking.
Impact on BJU Students
Because Stanley teaches all the types of printmaking, he seeks to master them all and share his expertise in the classroom. Workshops and other learning opportunities offered by the CPC have enhanced his skills and expanded his knowledge. Recently, Stanley attended a CPC workshop to learn about the solar plate printmaking technique.
Stanley’s experiences have also influenced his approach to teaching. When his son Perrin passed away as a toddler, Stanley began to use printmaking as a way to work through his grief. The repetition of printmaking gave him time to think about and process his emotions.
As a result, Stanley created a series called Boxed Steel for his dissertation work. The series studies grief in television and movies and how they present expectations for grieving individuals. However, Stanley realized that, while powerful as a critique of social norms, the series wasn’t pointing people to God, his ultimate goal as a Christian artist.
In 2014 (before Boxed Steel), local artist and BJU alumnus Doug Young invited Stanley to create a piece depicting Christ on the cross as part of a show on Passion Week. Stanley’s piece—The Father Turns His Face Away—combined with the recent loss of his son, allowed Stanley to see the crucifixion from the perspective of a grieving father. That emotion is evident in the piece and points the viewer to a new understanding of what salvation truly cost.
Stanley says this “back and forth process of working in the world and speaking to contemporary issues while also seeking a path to point people to Christ” has especially helped him as he teaches about Christianity in the arts in the freshman core class Intro to the Arts.
He says the class has “been really convicting and really good to work through [with my students] these ideas of what is a Christian artist? Is there such a thing as a Christian artist? Is it just in the subject matter? How do you portray worldview? It’s started making me think about my own work differently.”
Impacts on the Community
In addition to strengthening his teaching, Stanley says being a part of the CPC provides a way to connect personally with other printmakers in the community. When other printmakers visit Stanley’s studio on the BJU campus, they are often surprised at how well-equipped it is.
Stanley also relays that he is able to showcase BJU’s art and design programs to a fellow CPC printmaker who teaches at a local high school. He, in turn, informs students about opportunities at BJU.
But Stanley’s connections through the CPC are not simply about promoting BJU. They are opportunities to build relationships in order to be a witness for the Gospel. Through his art and personal testimony, Stanley’s goal is to point others to Christ.
This video from the Contemporary Print Collective’s website (used with permission) expands on Stanley’s use of printmaking.