Fant Calls Students to Enjoy Art at First Fall Chapel
Tigerville, SC – (August 28, 2019) Why does art matter — especially for Christians?
That’s the question North Greenville University President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., aimed to answer at the university’s first regular chapel of the Fall 2019 semester on Aug. 26.
Fant began his message by asking, “Can you give us a shout if you’re an art major? Do we have any music majors in the house? Any theatre majors? Anybody that wants to be a creative writer or a filmmaker?”
After each question, shouts rose from sections throughout the crowded Turner Chapel — no doubt from students in the more than 10 creative undergraduate degree programs offered at NGU.
“I want to talk about beauty. I want to talk about art today,” Fant said.
Fant described his own experience of the beauty around NGU’s campus, sharing that the sunrises and Paris Mountain views he sees on early-morning walks with “First Pup Fiona” make him stop and stare.
He then read through the key text, Genesis 1, and explained that the word God used to describe His creation, “good,” implies that God saw what He had made as beautiful, pleasing, and the way He intended it to be.
“Beauty matters because God set it up as one of the ways He reveals Himself to us through the created world,” Fant said.
Fant went on to explain that this is important for Christian artists to grasp because, through their artistic creations, they can take part in the role of true beauty: it “draws us closer to God.”
“Art is not to be conducted merely for the sake of art, but it is an act that is rooted in God’s love for us and should be conducted and enjoyed in the context of glory to God,” Fant said. “By enjoying art, we are enjoying God.”
Fant closed by challenging students to “invite more art” into their lives, citing several opportunities available on campus. For example, NGU’s Tigerville campus hosts more than 20 cultural events each semester, including concerts, art shows, and theatrical productions.
Macie McSwain (expected ’23), a double major in studio art and theatre, hopes not only to attend cultural events at NGU this semester, but also to participate in them. She plans on helping out with the upcoming production of “The Great Divorce,” based on the novel by C.S. Lewis.
“A lot of people place emphasis on the business major or, I guess, the ones they consider practical. For the first chapel to be about art students and theatre students — how you’re not a Christian studies major, but you can still show people Jesus through your art — I thought that was incredible. I actually wrote a ton of notes,” McSwain said. “It reminded me that [what] we’re doing has a purpose.”
For McSwain, that purpose is to do whatever she does — including working in set design — as “an expression of worship” to God.
“Our mission at NGU is to develop transformational leaders in all areas, just as Dr. Fant reminded us in this moving first chapel,” said Jody Jennings, vice president for Campus Ministries and Student Engagement. “Because God has called us to be far more than robots with a task, we really want to see our students appreciate the beauty of God in all things and to redeem the culture to Him as they infiltrate it.”
Upcoming chapels for the Fall 2019 semester at NGU will feature guest speakers like the founder of nonprofit ROCK International, Nathan Bramsen (’06); the vice president for global training with the International Mission Board, Zane Pratt; and the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Adam Greenway.
Both the NGU family and the general public are invited to attend NGU chapel services, held at the Tigerville Campus’ Turner Chapel at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays during the school year. The full schedule for the Fall 2019 semester has been posted on NGU’s website.
Learn more about Chapel at NGU.