I have just returned from Nashville where the Art House America team celebrated 20 Years of Artful Living. Considering I didn’t even know Art House existed until 3 years ago, it was particularly inspiring to spend time with folks who have been uniquely shaped by Art House over the last five, ten or twenty years of our history. The original Director, Nick Barre, shared with me about getting to work alongside one of his heroes in the early days of Art House. “It was a dream-come-true to work alongside Charlie,” he remembers, “even if it meant he lived in the cedar closet for a year.”
During the crisp Fall evening gathering, Matthew Perryman Jones talked about walking into the Art House for the first time 12 years ago and the conversations that led him to pursue music as a full-time vocation. After hearing him croon the crowd-favorite “Save You” along with a powerful cover of Emmylou Harris’ “The Pearl,” we witnessed firsthand the beauty of someone utilizing their creative potential.
One of the most powerful moments of the Anniversary event was hearing Sara Groves perform “Why It Matters” and remind all of us “Why our thinking and creating // Why our efforts of narrating // About the beauty, of the beauty // And why it matters.” She prefaced her song with a story about how she would’ve left her music career to become a nurse or teacher had it not been for conversations with Charlie and Andi at the Art House. It’s wonderful how Sara has not only continued to create incredible music over the last ten years, but also creates lyrics that tell true and good stories.
Art House not only encouraged her creativity, but inspired to partner with International Justice Mission where her music “protests the darkness.” Now, her passion for nurturing other artists has led her and her husband Troy to start up an Art House North in St. Paul, MN. We can’t wait to see all the exciting things that are going to happen in the Twin Cities as a result of their presence with the creative community there.
Perhaps the biggest thread in all of these happenings is the reminder that we are all part of a larger story. This story takes time to develop, as stories often do, but surprises us with its beauty as we look back through all the twists and turns, the hills and valleys.
After celebrating Art House Dallas’ one-year anniversary last Thursday here in Texas, it blows me away to think about what might happen in our community over the next 20 years. There are plot lines yet to be revealed and characters we have yet to meet: men and women who have a role to play not only in the story of Art House, but in the story of our Creator “making all things new.”
In Charlie Peacock’s intro to the celebration, he announced, “Art House is a timely place. And if you are here, it’s your time.” The entire Art House Dallas staff greatly anticipates hosting you in our new location at Munger Place, and until then we hope that you’ll take advantage of our upcoming events around town. After all, there’s a chance that it’ll be you standing up twenty years from now, remembering how Art House led you down a path you hadn’t ever dreamed of. It’s your time.
All images courtesy of Kristin Sweeting Photography