We believe that as image-bearers of a creative God, we ought to create high quality art. At Forefront, we equip Christian artists to make excellent art in the context of authentic faith. We do this by organizing festivals where talented artists perform and display their work, thoughtful speakers discuss the convergence of faith and art, and attendees connect with fellow artists — mobilizing a community of creators who are excited and equipped to glorify God by making excellent art.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Host events where talented artists perform and display their work, thoughtful speakers discuss the convergence of faith and art, and attendees connect with fellow artists
- Facilitate an online network that allows Christian artists to easily search for, discover, and communicate with one another, allowing them to quickly find collaborators for their next project
- Run a blog that features thought leadership about faith and art
- Acts 11:26 says that “in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” So ‘Christian’ is a term that dates all the way back to 42 A.D. — and it’s been used by Christ’s followers ever since. Terms and practices that have lasted two thousand years, especially those with basis in Scripture, ought not to be lightly discarded.
- The term “Christian” arises from the name of Christ Himself, so to discard or downplay the term would ultimately downplay the name of Christ as well.
- Some Christ-followers want to discard the term “Christian” because they want to disassociate themselves with certain overtly hypocritical, judgmental people who call themselves Christians. But let’s face it: there have always been overtly sinful, hypocritical, and judgmental people who claim to be Christians. Changing the term we use won’t stop that from happening again under the umbrella of the hypothetical new term.
- There have been countless deeds of kindness, hospitality, generosity, and selflessness that have marked Christianity since its inception, performed by the true followers of Christ. By discarding the term “Christian,” in trying to disassociate ourselves from “bad Christians,” we would also be disassociating ourselves from “true Christians.” This would be among the most tragic examples of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
- Some Christ-followers want to discard the term “Christian” because Christians have a poor reputation in the arts — Christians aren’t respected. But we ought to ask ourselves why Christians aren’t respected. If it’s because of our beliefs, discarding our name won’t help unless we also discard our beliefs — which of course we cannot do. If it’s because of our art, the obvious solution is not to discard our name (and build a new facade) but rather to make better art. And that’s what Forefront is all about.
In conclusion, we don’t have the hubris or audacity to seek to change what the followers of Christ have called themselves for two thousand years. The term isn’t the problem — we are. If we change ourselves (and our art), many of our perceived problems with the term will fade away. The problems that won’t fade away are the same kinds of problems that Christ Himself had, and his followers had and always will have — the problems that are inherent in being citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Nate Mancini is a professional Video Producer and amateur film director from Rochester, NY. He is a writer/director of the 2015 short film Pastime and the 2013 feature film Asleep in a Storm. He co-founded Forefront in 2015, organizing the first Forefront Festival in Pittsburgh, PA. He works full-time as the Video Producer for EarthLink, a nationwide managed network services company.
Richard Christman is a published photographer and mixed media artist from Upstate New York. Since graduating Grove City College in May of 2014, he has paid the bills of his fledgling graduate education in Rochester by camera — taking portraits, marketing images, and shooting narrative video. His community-building fine art photography series have been featured in Pittsburgh and Rochester area publications, as well as in the online community “Explore Rochester,” which uses social media to visually and physically connect creatives and entrepreneurs in the revitalizing metro area. You can see a feed of that work here. Richard hopes to publish a book of the best of this work in the future. Once he receives his Masters of Education in the fall of 2016, he intends to pursue a position teaching English and Drama, while continuing his commercial and fine-art photography career on summers off.
- Access to the Forefront database of Christian artists, and easily search for people based on a variety of attributes
- The ability to securely private message other Christian artists to discuss collaborating on creative projects
- Exclusive access to videos of many of the major talks and performances from past Forefront events
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- We believe it is good to collaborate with all kinds of people, not just Christians. However, there is a special bond that Christians share in that they have the same motivation/foundation behind their creativity. As such, it can often be beneficial to partner with other Christian(s) for certain roles in your passion projects, such as leadership roles that set the tone or direction of the project. This network allows you to seek out fellow believers that also have the skills and talents you need to take your project to the next level.
- There are lots of places to connect with people in general — we all know about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Snapchat. But the sheer scale of those platforms and variety of users makes it difficult to find fellow artists in your area, much less Christian artists. We believe this platform will help creators to find like-minded collaborators much more easily than traditional social networks.
- Sometimes a certain level of exclusivity helps breed community. Think of a college campus: it’s overwhelming to try to find like-minded people by examining the entire student body. But as soon as you start segmenting into smaller groups based on interests or major, it’s far easier to make friends. Similarly, the Forefront Artist Network makes it easier to find collaborators by only admitting Christians who are active or interested in the arts.
Click here to join now!