Catholics must reclaim arts role, screenwriter to argue at LCFC
All Catholics are invited to the March 1-2 Living the Catholic Faith Conference
By Jean Torkelson
2013 LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH CONFERENCE
When: March 1-2
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The Church that inspired the genius of the Sistine Chapel and Renaissance art, which gave a moral compass to great 20th-century novelists such as Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene—where did that Church go?
For all practical purposes, the Church that for centuries stood at the center of the world’s great art, literature and intellectual conversation has vanished and it’s time to bring her back, said Barbara Nicolosi, a screenwriter, script consultant and founder of training and mentoring programs for Christians interested in media and entertainment careers.
Nicolosi will offer a roadmap for rediscovering Catholic sensibilities in art, literature and beauty when she speaks at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference March 1-2 at the Colorado Convention Center.
Nicolosi founded the Act One program, which trains Christians for careers in the media and entertainment industries. She is also launching a bachelor of fine arts degree program at Azusa Pacific University, where she heads the Galileo Studio, an online think tank that utilizes 3D video.
An artistic ghetto
For decades, Nicolosi asserts, Catholics have been holed up in their own artistic ghetto, driven there by an aggressively hostile secular culture. However, by sitting on the sidelines, Catholics are also responsible for letting the culture get as bad as it is, she said. The effect has been to create a subculture of artistic mediocrity, where Catholics
are content to edify one another, rather than enter the worldly arena of art and ideas—where throughout the centuries, the Church always took a central role.
“We have to take responsibility for the fact we created our own little bubble,” Nicolosi said in an interview with the Denver Catholic Register.
“The Church used to be made of sterner stuff when it came to the arts,” she continued. “(Now), people are clamoring for ‘safe’ when nothing is safe about being a disciple. It’s time we man up. These are very dark times.”
Why is the Church a virtually nonexistent contributor to the mainstream culture? Nicolosi
cites two culprits: when it comes to artistic efforts, Catholics are by and large cheap, and they lack professionalism. She recalled a meeting of qualified, high powered Catholic investors who were weighing whether to back a movie project for a Christian production company.
“One lady raised her hand—now, these are investors of quite considerable means—and she asks, ‘What can we get for $10,000?” In other words, they took the nickel and dime approach.
Send in the pros
As for Catholic professionalism? She argues that the Church needs to encourage a higher quality of artistic representation. Great faith cannot make up for lack of talent. “We don’t have enough emphasis on craft and professionalism when using the media,” she said. “I know many media projects hire somebody in media production because they are devout—not because they know what they’re doing.”
Among her solutions? “What we have to do is send people who are professionally trained and have their act together into mainstream media and entertainment—don’t send them into little, Catholic, underfunded efforts on the side.”
Her program, Act One, is dedicated to training Catholics to enter the arena. But despite the dark times, she has hope.
“The Holy Spirit provides special gifts for every special time,” she said. “Since these times are so desperate, and since God wants everyone to be saved, I think we’re going to see a flowering in the Church with very beautiful gifts.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3125; www.twitter.com/DCRegister.