Emeritus Professor of Art
Bartel in his
from a 1989 Goshen College chapel talk
Culture for Service, A Potter's Perspective
"When Jesus received a year's wages worth of nard as a gift, he left us no doubt about justification for aesthetic gifts (John 12: 1-8). Many of us need to expand our notion of service. We may think of service only as meeting people's material needs. As important as material needs are, how many persons suffering in material poverty, continue in poverty largely because they lack the means to the self-esteem by which they can insist on their rights as persons?
A most important route to self-esteem is a sense of identity. As individuals and as groups we don't function well without a healthy self-image. When we don't know who we are, we lack dignity and we have trouble asserting our human rights. A way to know ourselves and each other is through our five senses. It is precisely through our perceptions and our artistic expressions that we learn our own identities and become persons.
In culture for service, we can be of profound service to the most underprivileged as well as to the highly blessed among us if we can provide the means by which people can learn to know themselves. mb
Dragonfly Jar - Marvin Bartel
1997 - stoneware