Looking Back on 2020 + Forward to 2021
Jan 01, 2021 • By Rebecca Testrake
Dear Spark+Echo friends,
I am sending you this letter to thank you for your support of this project, to give you an overview of the things we were able to accomplish in 2020, and to ask for your continued generosity to help us grow.
While the difficulty of 2020 for our world was obvious, I am excited to share with you some of the things we were able to accomplish:
Unveiling a New Mission Statement
In 2019, the leadership at SEA focused on honing our mission statement to better reflect what we do and hope to accomplish. In 2020, we started incorporating it into our site and practices and have been excited for how it will continue to refine us as an organization:
Spark+Echo Arts forms communities of artists who engage with and create in response to the Bible.
(You can read the premise and vision of the statement on our About page.)
Earlier this year, we also launched our first run of formation groups for artists. For 6 weeks, a small group of artists ‘met’ over Zoom in order to develop a community, foster safe space, ‘spark’ creativity and hone their craft. The experiment was a big success amongst the participants and we are looking to expand and replicate the experience for others.
Growth Towards Becoming Anti-Racist
Although promoting diversity and inclusivity has always been a part of our DNA, the events surrounding Black Lives Matter made us realize that we still had more self-reflection and work to do. We believe that combatting systemic racism starts with leadership and our internal structures. Consequently, we have started the journey of expanding diversity within our board members and curators. We also look back to our Mission Statement as a commitment to support artists regardless of race, gender, or creed. Here is what we know about the journey towards anti-racism:
- It takes time
- It will be hard
- We will need to be held accountable to the work
- It is absolutely necessary and worth it
A Look at Some of Our Numbers
Spark+Echo Arts turned 10 years old in 2020. Over the course of this time and with your help, we have been able to commission illuminations for 413 projects from 215 unique artists for over 3,045 verses — almost 10% of the Bible! And we’re just getting started! We hope to pick up the pace and grow with your continued support.
Most of what we have accomplished over the years has been done with a skeleton staff of no more than 3 people at a time, supplemented by the talents and time of our volunteer curators and board members. Co-founders Jonathon and Emily have done an amazing job laying the groundwork for what Spark+Echo Arts has been able to offer. Your donations can help us keep the work going. As the new Interim Executive Director, my desire is to continue and cultivate their vision. We are working to acquire an increase in funding so that we can grow our organization to better support (and fund!) the artists whom we commission.
Thank you for believing in our project. We could not have done these things without you: our community of artists, audience, and patrons. As the new year begins, here are some options for donating in 2021!
- Make a one-time donation. You can donate on our giving page hosted by the National Christian Foundation.
- Become a Patron. You can become a monthly supporter of the work we do via selecting to donate an amount of your choosing to our Patreon account.
- Select us as the beneficiary for your online purchases made at Amazon Smile. If you find yourself shopping online, Amazon also offers a way to support Spark+Echo Arts. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates to your charity of choice out of the proceeds generated by your purchase. You can choose to designate us as the recipient of these funds from our charity listing on Amazon Smile.
Thank you, again, for your partnership in this project. I look forward to seeing what we are able to accomplish together in 2021!
May you all have a safe and healthy new year.
Interim Executive Director