As InSpero celebrates its fourth anniversary, Gina and I look back in amazement and gratitude (scroll through our Stories page to see some of the reasons why) and look ahead to what’s next for InSpero. The last four years have been a whirlwind of beautiful collaborative events, new creative connections, deep conversations, and developing relationships. Many seeds have been sown.
This year, we are slowing down to allow these seeds to develop deep roots. We've been pondering a verse in Scripture that says
"I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last."
We believe the work we've been called is to nurture a creative community to bring long-lasting hope and healing to our city and churches. We cultivate this creative community by offering collaborative events to Birmingham; initiating conversations between artists, our city and churches; and celebrating creativity for the good of our community.
Inspero’s impact will be measured as Birmingham has a thriving creative community whose work stirs people to hope, as local churches embrace the arts as part of their message of restoration, and as our city flourishes because its creative community flourishes. We believe that a vibrant creative community can help bring healing, hope and restoration to the brokenness, pain and alienation of our world.
Developing authentic, mutual, ongoing relationships. This is most often with artists who often feel alienated and discouraged and with those who have experienced the most brokenness in our city.
Encouraging artists and artisans that they matter and what they do matters. As we can, we give them opportunities to share their vision and work.
Gathering a team of like-minded visionaries and volunteers. We are privileged to have people who believe in InSpero and help us carry the weight of events and offerings. They share a passion for flourishing our city through flourishing our artists and the arts. They are committed to doing this through building relationships as well as organizing our offerings.
Offering events and conversations that are beautiful, collaborative, and bring hope and/or healing. These include
A sold-out crowd packed the Clubhouse on Highland for InSpero's third Magic City Storytellers with performances by emerging and veteran performers in fiction, poetry, and singing/songwriting. Shout out to the best host in the city, Bob McKenna. Before the performance, people connected over wine, beer and appetizers and at intermission relished amazing desserts and coffee from The Neighborhood Brew. Plans are underway for our fourth night of story and song!
Birmingham Music Makers was an idea formed out of a growing sense of a need for musicians to connect with one another. As with many forms of art, music can often lead people further into themselves and further away from community and outside influence. The purpose of BMM is simply to create a space where people from different backgrounds could come together and interact with one another through their common desire to make music. These events were open to singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers and anyone else involved in the creation of music in the Birmingham area and has been initiated and facilitated by InSpero Board member Corey Nolen and other local musicians. They met in May and August.
Bridge Builders comes together several times a year to share on a spiritual level the hurts and fears of racism in Birmingham and across the nation. We wanted to give creatives/artists who are considering creating for the common good a safe place to share and build relationships with friends from different backgrounds--a safe place to learn from each other. We want to know what is the artists’ role in creating art for the healing of the deep wounds in our city, especially related to racial brokenness. Who is standing up and talking about it? This August, InSpero hosted a Bridge Builder evening at one of our volunteer’s home for an open, genuinely curious and thought provoking discussion. Before this gathering, these friends watched "13th," a Netflix documentary, and processed the inequities of the American prison system together.
October: Lectio Divina / Scriptural preparation for creating through Advent
November: Bridge Builders / artists and lay people gathering to discuss the wounds of Birmingham
November 18: Alan Levi Concert / intimate house concert
December: Christmas Vespers /TBD
January 12-13: Annual Creative “Tribe” Retreat at Pursell Farms
February: Changing the Picture of Birmingham photo display of Vicki Hunt’s poverty/social injustice images alongside her father’s Civil Rights photography from police files
February 12: Lenten Retreat
March: Pastor/Artist Dinner
June 14: Magic City Storytellers at the Clubhouse on Highland
We were stirred by Jonathan's discussion of territories vs. hierarchies as it relates to artists and writers. As a writer himself, he encourages creators to push past the tendency to compare and tend to their own journeys as creators.