- How do I become a Spark+Echo Artist?
Please fill out an application here. Our team of curators will look at your work samples and we will reach out if we would like to commission something new for the project. All works in our Bible Illumination project are created new for the project. We are a small team and this is a giant project; please forgive any delay in response.
- Do you go through the Bible in order?
No. We focus on different books or themes each year and also follow the suggestions of our patrons as they “spark” verses. We want artists to choose topics and passages that are particularly interesting to them. When an artist creates work in response to a passage in the Bible, that passage has a special connection to them that can last through their life.
- How long will it take to illuminate the entire Bible?
We started in 2010 and will have it completely illuminated by 2030–twenty years total. Learn more about our vision of how this will be accomplished at the bottom of Support page.
- Is the project only for visual art? What kind of art is created for the project?
We commission new works of visual art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, film and literature. This includes but isn’t limited to paintings, drawings, sculptures, jazz and instrumental music, art songs, poetry, spoken word, rap, hip-hop, performance art, video art, film, classical and contemporary dance, scripts, short stories, theatre in any style, soundscapes, recipes, and more.
- What does “Spark+Echo” mean?
The Bible is the Spark that we Echo.
- Where did the idea for this project come from?
Prior to co-founding Spark+Echo Arts in 2010, composer and performer Jonathon Roberts had been creating music and theatre in response to the Bible for many years. The greatest way for an artist to learn about something they are interested in is to create a work of art that forces them to engage with the topic. For Jonathon, this became especially clear when creating a musical and theatrical response to the writings of the Apostle Paul in 2005. Words that he had often skimmed-over came alive and took on a new depth of meaning. Inspired by these and other experiences, Jonathon and co-founder Emily Clare Zempel set about to create a framework and platform for other artists to creatively explore the Bible.
- You say you are illuminating the whole Bible. What do you mean by “illuminate”?
An illuminated manuscript is traditionally thought of as an important text that is decorated with elaborate letters, borders or illustrations. Earliest manuscripts can be found from AD 400-600, though many are from the Middle Ages. Due to its importance and influence, the Bible is a popular book to illuminate, and the tradition continues today with modern visual artists.
We are inspired by and extend the concept of illuminating the Bible to involve artists working in all disciplines. We also celebrate modern technology and the joys of multi-disciplinary collaboration. We encourage artists to not just illustrate the text but to use their full range of creativity when responding, offering audiences a chance to contemplate the Bible in a unique way. For students of the Bible, this offers a depth of resource that can complement your study. Art has a special ability of allowing words and thoughts to linger in your heart.
- Do artists get paid to create work for Spark+Echo Arts?
Yes, artists receive a small honorarium. Artists also retain full rights to their work.
- Can I use art I find on this site for my church, project etc.?
All work created for Spark+Echo Arts is copyrighted by the artist and featured in our project by a contract between Spark+Echo Arts and the artist. If you are interested in using the work for your purposes, please contact us and we can connect you with the artist for possible permission.
- I love this work I saw in your site. Is it for sale?
Some works may be for sale directly from the artist. Contact us and we can connect you with the artist.
- I have a painting that I made in college about Noah’s Ark. You can have that if you want.
We only commission new works made specifically for Spark+Echo Arts. If you are interested in being considered by our team of curators please apply.
- What are you going to do with the genealogies and numerical lists in the Bible?
Artists started creating responses to some of these passages for our project in 2013. The world is full of all kinds of artists, many of whom would be excited by this special challenge. Every number in the Bible is important, is there for a reason, and is worthy of our thought and intrigue. Each name is a real person connected to God’s greater story. There is so much wrapped up in every word of the Bible that the potential for creative and theological response is limitless.
- Is this a “family-friendly” project?
Yes and no. This is a massive project that will grow to thousands of works of art. Each work is different. Artists come from a range of backgrounds and we give them the freedom to respond honestly (explained above). Think of exploring this online gallery like attending a contemporary art museum. Going to the museum is a wonderful family activity; many works may feel “family-friendly” while other works you might avoid with your children. For parents, teachers, pastors and church leaders, as with any culture you consume, this means taking a discerning look at works from the project––and we do preface some works with a note about audience discretion. Keep in mind that a work you may not like may be the spark another person needs to discover the Bible for the first time.
- Do you censor works?
Spark+Echo Arts is committed to commissioning a diverse community of artists and giving them the freedom to respond to the Bible honestly. Out of respect for the artists, our policy is to not censor the work created for the project except in rare circumstances. We do at times, out of respect for our audience, preface works with a note regarding audience discretion.
The Bible tells a true story of redemption that is for all people. Included in this story are moments of unfathomable beauty and the darkest moments of human history. By asking professional artists from many backgrounds to respond to every part of the Bible, we are asking them to also respond to those moments of depravity and darkness. The Bible is God’s Word told through many different voices. We are asking hundreds of today’s most talented artists to respond with their voice. You may not feel a connection to, or may even feel offended by a work. We are not asking you to love, agree with, or understand every work created for this project. We are asking you to stand by and support the act of artists exploring the Bible with their gifts.
We choose artists, whether Christian or not, that we feel are truly interested in engaging and exploring the Bible for the benefit of the audience. Each work created for this project, along with our online platform, offers you the chance to respond to and contemplate God’s Word in a unique way. Our hope is that through this process more and more people dig deep into the Bible and weave these words into their lives.
There is a trend in many professional arts circles to dismiss the Bible, Christianity, or religion as irrelevant. As lovers of the arts and the Bible this is saddening. Artists shape culture; we want those shaping culture to not toss aside the Bible, but look to it as something worthy of their deep consideration, using their full range of talents. Stand with us, stand by artists who are brave enough to wrestle publicly with something they may not agree with, and stand with the promise that “God’s Word will not return empty” (Isaiah 55:11).