When communicating the truth, lead with beauty: This is the simple yet powerful approach, suggested by Bishop Robert Barron, that Cory Heimann, founder of Likable Art, takes in his understanding of the Christian call to evangelize — and consequently, in his work. “Leading with beauty speaks to people’s hearts in a way that throwing out facts just can’t,” said Heimann. “True conversion means moving knowledge of God from the head to the heart, and beauty makes that movement possible.” Leading with beauty was one of the central points of Heimann’s recent presentation, “Created: Bridging the Gap Between Your Art & Your Creator” at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne.
Though the call to create may seem obvious for those with artistic gifts, it is truly a universal Christian call. We are all called to lead others to Christ by our witness, our story, Heimann said. We are all called to be story “givers.” He encouraged those at the presentation to ask themselves, “What is my story? How am I communicating it to others?”
He noted that hope must be a central and perceptible part of our story, referencing 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” The beauty of a life lived with hope is attractive to others and invites them to pursue the truth. Witnessing to beauty and hope in the current culture can be difficult, Heimann said, but it is vital for authentic evangelization.
Heimann and the team at Likable Art work with ministries and organizations to help them be more effective witnesses of beauty and hope. Clients often come to Likable Art with a specific project or campaign in mind, “but we want to help them rethink how they use media, from simply promoting their mission to actually furthering their mission,” Heimann clarified. Likable Art’s clients include organizations such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, LifeTeen International, Steubenville Conferences, Lighthouse Catholic Media and Dynamic Catholic.
In 2017 the Likable Art team undertook a particularly unique project: creating and publishing a book. “Created: Bridging the Gap Between Your Art & Your Creator,” was inspired by the very first words of Genesis: “In the beginning God created.” Heimann was struck by these five words, and the realization that each time an artist begins to make something he or she is participating in a small way in the original action of God. “As I was reflecting on all of this,” he recounted, “I began to wonder about the insights of my mentors and peers. What would their first five words to artists be? So I reached out and asked them. As I began to receive the contributions for this project I felt a deep sense of their importance, and the responsibility I had to share them in a meaningful way”.
What began as a relatively small project soon grew into a collaborative collection of visual art and wisdom from 62 Catholic creatives from a wide array of disciplines. The book itself is a work of art, intentionally crafted to manifest the overarching theme: “We are artists because God is.” Each piece of visual art included is captivating in a singular way, and the written pieces are beautifully composed, full of theological truths that resonate in both the mind and the heart.
Heimann commented that he is already hearing about the many fruits of the project, “It has been affirming for people who struggle with finding their role as Catholic artists and has created a sense of community for artists. I have also heard a lot of stories about people giving the book as a gift to friends or family with whom they had been wanting to share the beauty of the faith but did not know how. It seems to be meeting a different need, since it strikes a different chord than a typical theological work might.”
How can all the faithful, support initiatives like “Created” and the artists behind them?
“If you see something beautiful that moves you, reach out and thank the artist,” suggested Heimann, “Expressions of genuine appreciation help keep creatives going and build a sense of community.” When one contemplates art he or she encounters God in a real way, he said, for God is beauty in its fullest expression; and expressing appreciation for art gives Him glory as the ultimate creator.
Cory Heimann will speak at the Catholic Business Network breakfast Friday, April 6, at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral Parish Center in Fort Wayne. Visit www.todayscatholic.org/event for details.
To find out more about Likable Art visit www.likableart.com.
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