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Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner Slated for Portland Arts Conference


Martin French, a New York Society of Illustrators Gold Medalist, joins local artists, educators and pastors for a day conference addressing the centrality of the arts for the church. The conference, titled "Captivating Art for the Adoration of Christ," is sponsored by the Institute of Intercultural Studies: New Wine, New Wineskins, and is open to the public.

French creates illustrations for such diverse clients as The Atlantic Monthly, American Airlines, Bank of America, Coca Cola, Discovery Channel, George Lucas Studios, Honda Motorcycles, Major League Baseball, Nike, the Village Voice and Warner Brothers. His work also includes teaching and publishing. The artist was a guest lecturer at Kansas University last November, and he has illustrated his first children's book. Recently published by Dutton Children's Books, "The Song Shoots out of My Mouth" is a collection of poetry dealing with music from a young person's perspective. French will give a lecture and a slide presentation of recent work scheduled for exhibition at the Richard von Hess Illustration Gallery on the campus of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in March 2003.

Conference organizers have scheduled French as part of a full day that includes lecture/demonstrations, a panel discussion, dance, film and music. New Wineskins Director, Dr. Paul Metzger, explains the motivation for the conference: "Christian artists must reach out in imaginative ways to those who are either disillusioned with Christianity or completely ignorant of Christ. We must go beyond the normal packaging of art by the Christian community, promoting work that causes Christians to search the Scriptures and their souls in seeking to live authentically. So often the Church promotes art that is safe and sterile, not engaging people where they exist. There is a place for art that is placid. But the Church-artists and non-artists alike-must go further in tapping into the raw experience of broader culture and making further inroads into segments of culture where the Church is not present."

Joining French at the conference will be Portland author and speaker Don Miller, who presents a session entitled: "Finding and Understanding Christian Theology in Literature". Miller will discuss the theology within Shakespeare's famed play "Romeo and Juliet," unpacking technical theological ideas to reveal their beauty, and noting that, when needing passionate metaphors, Shakespeare often called upon gospel themes. Miller is a regular columnist for Hardcore Music Magazine and the author of the forthcoming "Blue Like Jazz" which is due from Thomas Nelson Publishers in July 2003.

Other presenters include the founder of Wiconi International and author, Richard Twiss. Twiss is widely recognized for his unique vision of God's purpose for First Nations people. He is the author of "One Church, Many Tribes, Serving Jesus the Way God Made You." Also scheduled to appear are Dave Parmley, founding partner of Nonbox, a local advertising agency; New Wineskins Director Dr. Paul Metzger, who is also Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary and the author of "The Word of Christ and the World of Culture"; Ken Hickman, Pastor of Creative Arts at Sunset Presbyterian Church; and Anita Mitchell, Director of the Northwest Conservatory of Dance.

The conference will be held at First Covenant Church, 45th and Burnside in Portland, from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2003. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

The Institute of Intercultural Studies: New Wine, New Wineskins, directed by Dr. Paul Metzger, is an official program of Multnomah Biblical Seminary. New Wineskins is dedicated to bringing Christ to contemporary culture.

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