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Christian Makers Advancing God's Kingdom Through His Church

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About the Maker Institute

“All things are transparent manifestations of His power and wisdom. It is the very nature of creation that the whole world is like a burning bush even though we walk around all the time with our shoes on.”
– Calvin G. Seerveld

The Maker Institute of Studio Art and Theology develops gospel-gripped, theologically-minded, adept culture makers who faithfully seek to glorify Christ in all things. The Maker Institute believes the fullness of a maker comes forth when the heart, head, and hands are working together in unison. Our intimate and personal approach includes sound theological training, robust professional and studio practicum, and applied spiritual formation under the guidance of a close-knit community of Christian makers. 

We want to equip makers to take up their calling with greater confidence and competence. Often, Christians struggle with how to be both an artist and a follower of Christ. Perhaps you have felt and even now feel this way? We want to share with you how this tension simply does not hold. Our program was built out of a desire to see creative believers like you free from what we suggest is a false dilemma.

At the Maker Institute of Studio Art + Theology, you will find an integration of art and theology both in theory and practice. We provide a program that promotes a comprehensive theological approach to making by studying Christian exemplars in the past and present and by plumbing the depths of Christian thought on how to make things with excellence to the glory of God. Indeed this is what makes the Maker Institute uncompromising and unique in the landscape of art, faith, and theology.

2M
arts graduates are currently in the United States’ workforce
1 in 10
Arts graduates remain in the ARTS as their primary place of employment
40%
of all practicing artists and designers have no formal art degree

These bleak numbers highlight the failure of art and design education to remember who created us, what grounds everything, and what our role is in a society that desperately needs Jesus. Art and design graduates continually point to a lack of community, a lack of purpose, and a lack of mentorship in their education. When these go missing, the ability to carve out a meaningful career in art and design is nearly impossible. Our program focuses on deep mentorship, world-class instruction, and biblical discipleship. Within this model, students are freed to the possibilities that an education in art and design provides. 

Whether you have an interest in painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, illustration, collage and mixed media, sculpture, installation, 3-D design, theater, church media, curation, new media, film, or more, the Maker Institute is a good fit for you. The development of any Christian maker is based on discipleship, and we want to walk alongside you as you develop into someone whose work can bless the world. 

13+

areas of focus, three fellowship levels, and a host of electives

PROGR

AM

& Academics

The role of artists and designers in our culture is critical. Secular universities cannot meet the task at hand. Only Christian artists and designers—who know that God has given us all we need for life and godliness—can fully grasp their role in shaping and stewarding God’s world. For this reason, Christian makers are better equipped to build a culture to the glory of God.

Through our three-year program, which includes group courses and individualized mentorship, you will gain a renewed sense of the meaningful role of Art and Design in shaping and stewarding culture to the glory of Christ. You will learn to cultivate and make in ways that ignite the imagination of a dying world to the hope found in Christ and reignite your local church’s imagination to its full glorious participation with the work of Jesus in the world.

Unlike larger schools where students can get lost in the crowd, we purposefully limit the number of students we accept into The Maker Institute. By keeping our numbers small, we can ensure our cohorts remain intimate peer groups, where meaningful fellowship is built. And by offering three unique fellowship levels, we ensure that every student is approached as the individual they are within the larger body of The Maker Institute.

Foundation Fellows

Foundation Fellows come to the Maker Institute for exactly what it offers: an alternative to traditional universities and art schools. These Fellows are high school graduates with little to no experience in art and design beyond coursework. Foundation Fellows are looking for skills, understanding, and the ability to apply what they learn broadly in the fields of art and design. 

Foundation Fellows may be interested in:

  • Establishing knowledge and skill toward a clear career.
  • Exploring the ways in which Christians can impact culture.
  • Deepening their discipleship in a community of believers.

Graduate Fellows

Graduate Fellows are no strangers to the classroom and come to the Maker Institute with undergraduate degrees from a variety of different fields. Graduate Fellows may be already practicing in their chosen field and are looking to deepen their practice or may be individuals looking to change fields under the mentorship of the Maker Institute faculty. 

Graduate Fellows may be interested in:

  • Re-establishing an edifying studio practice.
  • Strengthening their craft through critique and dialogue.
  • Deepening their discipleship in a community of believers.

Professional Fellows

Professional Fellows are the veterans of the bunch. These individuals come into the Maker Institute with deep experience in creative and/or teaching fields. Professional Fellows may or may not have a flourishing personal practice. The aim for these individuals is to further deepen their craft and understanding to glorify God and His Church. 

Professional Fellows may be interested in:

  • Reconnecting to a community of like-minded makers.
  • Engaging in meaningful professional development.
  • Deepening their discipleship in a community of believers.

MENTO

RS

at the
Maker Institute

Our faculty includes Christian makers educated in top-tier arts and research institutions across America. Their vocational expertise includes: full-time teaching in the country’s best programs, consulting for universities on curricular innovation and how to think about art and design, maintaining studio practices, managing galleries, and generating opportunities for other artists throughout the globe.

STUD ENT
LIFE

Not your typical students, not your typical experience

Oftentimes, school is seen as a pause in life, a time when everything stops. But stopping life is not just difficult, it is impossible! At the Maker Institute, we believe that instruction, involvement, and community life should be integrated into your life, not force you to pause from it. Our student experience is unique in that it is based on deep relationships and honest critique. Our students are not passing participants in the classroom; they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

CAM
PUS

We have a vision for a multi-acre campus. This campus will include studio buildings for painting, design, sculpture, and performing arts. In addition, the campus will contain a student commons as well as an integrated chapel and contemporary Christian art museum, which will be home to a growing permanent collection of Contemporary Christian artists’ work and more. See how you can help!

financ

ing

Your Education

The cost of education is no small thing. Higher education costs have outpaced nearly every other expense for the last few decades, and tuition hikes show no signs of slowing down. In the last 60 years, higher education costs have risen nearly 750%! At the Maker Institute we know that growing in knowledge and wisdom is a command, and our tuition rate is designed to reduce the average cost of getting an arts education whether you come into our Foundation, Master’s or Professional Fellowship. We strive to keep costs as low as possible, and we desire to supply students and their families strategies and assistance to help avoid debt.

Tuition & Fees

Our hybrid model as well as our desire to see student debt lowered or completely eradicated keeps costs low so that value is passed along to students, their families, and their churches. We desire to equip students in knowledge and wisdom, but to also equip students with strategies to economically navigate school as well. To this end, a 20% Early Payment Option (EPO) is available to all students who pay for the year-in-full by the first day of the Fall term. 

Annual Tuition & Fees - Years 1 & 2

  • Fall (Yrs. 1 & 2) $3,250
  • Spring (Yrs. 1 & 2) $3,250
  • Summer (Yrs. 1 & 2) $1,400
  • Fees $100

total

$ 8,000 / YR

Annual Tuition & Fees - Year 3

  • Fall $200
  • Spring $200
  • Summer $200
  • Fees $100

total

$ 700

Maker campus

Aesthetic Pitch
from a friend

A letter from faculty member Cody Godwin

Reformed scholar Calvin Seerveld rightly said, “When Christianity abandons the arts, they really do go to hell.” Unfortunately, the Protestant church has largely ignored the cultivation of faithful artists and makers for over a century, leaving the church to simply play copy-cat to secular culture. Whether ten or fifty years behind the curve, all that “conservatives” have to conserve is the last generation’s artistic faithlessness.

Christians and pagans both can’t choose what they haven’t seen, and it will take a multi-generational effort of faithful Christian artists to course-correct and begin making art that truly loves our neighbors and glorifies God. This won’t mean merely repeating medieval Catholic aesthetics and arbitrarily cutting off our style at a particular historical date, nor will it mean slavishly copying the cool kids of the present, NOR will it mean pretending several millennia of artistic development don’t matter and that we are somehow able to “start fresh” (while actually just naively recreating bits and pieces of what others probably have done better).

We need to be Christians who really do believe the Lord is working out redemption for His people in the happenings of history, and that means we don’t spite the common-grace sun and rain of the arts just because it falls on the unjust, too, lest we **also** be cursed and burned from our lack of artistic fruit (Heb 6). We need to be ready to plunder the artistic knowledge of the world like God’s people plundered Egypt and received the cities and vineyards of the Canaanites. Do they have good artistic possessions? Of course! Does every good thing come from the Lord, the Father of lights? Of course! Are we afraid to possess the artistic land because we don’t believe that the Lord is with us or that He gives discerning Wisdom by **His** Spirit to those who seek it? Hopefully not, but if we disobey due to fear, don’t be surprised if the next forty years are subject to futile wanderings in an aesthetic desert until we repent and turn back to the Lord.

We need good churches that are theologically clear, who think the arts matter, and who don’t sneer when a young man says he wants to be a poet, or a painter, or a sculptor, or a designer. It’s not enough to say that it’s hard to support a family as an artist—if the church will have faithful artists, it’s our job to teach them how to do it as courageous entrepreneurs. We need churches that encourage, expect, and affirm artists who act like hard-working craftsmen, apprenticed to the trade of art-making, rather than unpredictable slackers enslaved to their passions who are easily manipulated by the world.

We need to care about the arts because God made a universe, called it good, and then commanded us to fill it by the glad exercise of responsible dominion over all things, improving, elaborating, and adorning what He has given us just as a wife does with her husband’s gifts. We must refuse to believe that anything, including our spreadsheets or plumbing or factory work or art-making, is religiously neutral, for Christ is Lord of all.

It means we don’t ask whether Christians will use the arts in all aspects of life, but rather “Which art will we use?". Not whether we will spend money on art, but “Upon which art will our money be spent?". It means the art we make and use should be like the Bible: sometimes direct, sometimes oblique; sometimes clear, sometimes requiring many hours of meditation; sometimes shockingly stylized, sometimes deadly realistic; used to help us laugh, cry, work, praise, grieve, wage war, and make peace; sometimes showing us the glory of creation, the wickedness of sin, the surprising treasure of redemption, and the cosmic victory of restoration. It will sometimes be like Jesus, the perfect Image, who the prophet Isaiah said did not on the surface have a beautiful appearance. It will sometimes be like the Father, whose glory is beautiful to the saved and terrifying to the sinner. It will sometimes be as seemingly unimportant as a cool cup of water given to another in charity.

The world needs Christian artists who can provide leadership to the imaginations of God’s people and to the elect within the nations whom God desires to save.

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