Following up on several recent posts about caring for celebrities and artists, Amber and I have decided to put together a list of organisations ministering to artists. If you know an artist working in New York City, Los Angeles, London or other areas who could use the help of a supportive community, these organisations should be able to point them in the right direction.
None of these organisations, however, take the place of professional help in cases of mental illness, addiction, or other similarly serious cases of distress. In those cases, suffering artists should be helped to find an appropriate mental health professional. If anyone is aware of organisations that specifically serve the mental health needs of artists, especially if they are faith-based, please tell us in the comments. It would be extremely helpful to create such a list, as there is a great pastoral need for such support.
If you would like to add any organisations to the list below, just mention them in the comments, and the post will be amended to include your suggestions. Ministries in other cities, as well as ministries directed towards non-performing arts, would be especially helpful, as the list below reflects my bias as a performing artist.
The Actors Chapel – St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church in Times Square, NYC, which continues its historical service to the Broadway and wider New York artist community.
Catholic Artists Society – Offers regular Masses and services of recollection for artists, as well as lectures on the Christian artist’s vocation.
Center for Faith & Work – Run by Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the Center for Faith & Work offers several programs to help Christian artists (and other professionals) integrate their faith with their work, and encourage them in their vocation.
Domus Porta Fidei – The Domus is a residential house of spiritual formation for young Catholic adults, with several artists in residence. It contains studio and music practice spaces, as well as a large outdoor amphitheatre which it hopes to restore into a working theatre operates by Domus residents. The Domus is open to the creation of a residential Catholic artists’ community as part of its ministry.
International Center for a Culture of Compassion (ICCC) – Retreat center in upstate Woodbourne, New York that especially welcomes artists. Run by the Catholic association Heart’s Home.
Arts & Entertainment Ministries – Offers lectures and presentations, an annual artists’ showcase, and a mentoring program which matches artists with mentors to provide artistic, practical and spiritual guidance.
Beacon Fellowship – Beacon is Bel Air Presbyterian Church’s outreach to the entertainment industry, offering a monthly time of fellowship.
The Bridge Entertainment Fellowship – The Bridge is Lake Avenue Church’s outreach to the entertainment industry, offering a weekly gathering for prayer, faith sharing, Scripture study and fellowship.
Center for Prayer Mobilization – Retreat house in San Jacinto which offers weekend retreats as well as intercessory prayer for entertainment industry professionals.
The Grove Center for Arts & Media – The Grove Center, based in San Clemente, CA, ‘cultivates the spiritual life and creative work of artists’ through gatherings, getaways, and grants to artists in financial need.
Hollywood Connect – Focuses on helping artists of faith to connect with each other, through seminars, workshops, mentoring, and other services.
Hollywood Outreach – Chaplaincy for entertainment industry professionals run by members of the Catholic religious order the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Hollywood Prayer Network – Entertainment industry professionals can request prayer and be matched one-on-one with a prayer partner. HPN also organises prayer walks at Hollywood studios; prays for celebrities, production companies, and other groups within the entertainment industry; and organises other prayer ministries in order to provide prayer support for everyone working in Hollywood.
Premise – According to its website, ‘Premise is a non-denominational Christian fellowship for working professionals in film and television: Writers, producers, directors, editors, agents, managers, entertainment attorneys, development, programming executives, etc.’ Members meet for prayer monthly.
Radiance International – Radiance operates a house of prayer on the Sunset Strip that focuses on prayer for the arts and entertainment industries, and is open around-the-clock.
SAG Foundation – A non-religious non-profit foundation that provides emergency financial and health care assistance to qualified members of the SAG-AFTRA professional performing artists’ union, as well as offering several career development programs, college scholarships, and other support services. (New York City center opening in 2014.)
The Actors’ Church – St Paul’s Church (Church of England), Covent Garden, continues its tradition of ministering to the London theatre community. It is also home to Theatre Chaplaincy UK.
Arts Centre Group – Arts Centre Group’s mission is ‘to support artists in every arts discipline in integrating faith, life and artistic endeavour’, which they do through mentoring, events, an online magazine, and other services.
Christians in Entertainment – Based in East Sussex, Christians in Entertainment ‘exists to encourage a Christian presence in the entertainment scene in Britain. It achieves this by providing emotional and spiritual support to professionals within the industry.’
Genesis Arts Trust – Founded by Nigel Goodwin, a patron of Arts Centre Group, the Genesis Arts Trust serves the needs of Christian artists. (Added by Bruce Herman)
Theatre Chaplaincy UK – Formerly the Actors’ Church Union, Theatre Chaplaincy UK provides chaplains to theatres across the UK, and is based at the Actors’ Church, Covent Garden.
City Lights News – Worship & Arts newsletter serving Western Canada. (Added by Gwendolyn Starks)
Imago Arts – For over 40 years Imago has been operating as a support for artists of all backgrounds. Their mandate is to affirm the artistic gift and to encourage and facilitate creative initiatives in the arts that will make a positive contribution to the Canadian cultural landscape. It is their intent to promote high calibre artistic work across the spectrum of visual, written and performing arts. (Added by Gwendolyn Starks)
The Semaphore Fellowship – A not-for-profit, international consortium of Christian visual artists who are committed to honouring visual languages as a sacred trust given by Jesus, the original Artist, for truthful communications about what we know, what we see and who we love in both spiritual and cultural community. Flagship is their cooperative gallery home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. (James St. North in Hamilton is a very large and growing artistic community that hosts monthly art crawls and events.) (Added by Gwendolyn Starks)
The Word Guild – The Word Guild is a growing team of more than 325 Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who are Christian. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, they are united in their common passion for the written word. They hold a yearly Conference in June in Guelph, Ontario. (Added by Gwendolyn Starks)
Fraternity of St Genesius – Catholic association whose members commit to pray daily for those working in the theatrical and performing arts. Artists can join the Fraternity or submit prayer requests via the website.
Models for Christ – This organisation’s mission is “to glorify God by presenting the Gospel of Christ in and through the fashion and entertainment industries as we encourage industry professionals to know, love, and honor God.” Models for Christ has chapters in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Milan, Sydney and London. (Added by Shane Nearman)
Various Christian artist networks can also be found on our ‘Organisations and Institutions’ page. Also see my 2012 round-up of chaplaincies, colleges, communities, organisations, and performing arts companies combining theology and the arts.
I should flag up International Arts Movement, Christians in Visual Arts, and Christians in Theatre Arts, some of the most well-known arts ministries. These ministries are included in our regular ‘Organisations and Institutions’ list, but should also be mentioned here.
And for a vision of what a full artists’ chaplaincy in Hollywood (or New York, or London, etc.) could look like, see this excellent proposal for a Christian Center for the Arts and Media in Hollywood by Barbara Nicolosi. (Comment below if you would like to contribute to this effort, which is still under discussion.)
What ministries to artists would you add to this list?
Cole Matson is a final-year PhD student in the Institute for Theology, Imagination & the Arts, exploring the Eucharistic theologies of Jerzy Grotowski and the Rhapsodic Theatre. He is a member of the Catholic Artists Society and the Fraternity of St Genesius.
Image credit: Proto-icon of St Genesius, Fraternity of St Genesius (c) 2007 (used with permission)