inSpire 2013 Berkeley By Rich DuBose

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - On April 26-28, 2013, a convergence of songwriters, artists, photographers and creative-types of various stripes took place in Berkeley, Calif., to celebrate the arts and share how creativity can be used to glorify God and enrich our lives.* One of the opening messages displayed on the big screen throughout the weekend read:

"In the beginning God created..."

“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us’” (Gen. 1:1, 26, NLT).

Sponsored by Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services, the idea of an event for creatives was to foster a greater awareness of the importance of creative expression in our daily lives, and specifically as it relates to our mission as a church. Because we live in a media-driven age, we must use media creatively if we want anyone to notice. We can no longer depend upon bland music, stodgy graphics or Twentieth Century media models to attract audiences. We need auditory and visual stimuli that captures people's hearts with God's compelling story; music and art that enchants people's imaginations with heaven's possibilities and promise!
inSpire Gathering Dick Duerksen Nico Hill Berkeley SDA Church Jael Amador
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inSpire seeks to be a community of Adventist creatives who believe they have been gifted to tell God's story, compellingly. Forms of expression that were highlighted included, songwriting, visual art (digital design, graphics, painting), metal art, poetry and videography.

inSpire 2013 featured guest presenters and musicians, as well as times for participants to share some of their creations. The weekend included presentations and/or performances by Dorothy Stiegler (blacksmith artist), David A. Dean (poet and songwriter), Jael Amador, Curtis Castro, Greg Evans, and Dennis Hunt, (singer/songwriters), Nico Hill (former Cage Fighter and poet), Dick Duerksen (Maranatha storyteller and speaker), Milbert Mariano (artist and Chair of Pacific Union College Visual Arts), Rajeev Sigamoney (Director of Pacific Union College Film School), Brittnie Sigamoney (Coordinator for the Communication Department at Pacific Union College), and Chip Dizard (with Web VideoChefs).
Portion of gate crafted by blacksmith artist, Dorothy Stiegler
Many who attended inSpire 2013 expressed a desire to see it happen again and felt that Berkeley was the perfect spot because the community is so focused on the arts. The local Adventist church was very supportive and played a significant role in making the weekend a success. Ron Pickell, pastor of the Berkeley SDA Church said, "In the mornings I walk my dogs along the East Bay coastline at Point Issabella park and there I am greeted by bright colors, nature sounds, sunshine and the fresh air rolling in from San Francisco Bay. It is also where I walk and talk with God. InSpire was like my morning walks - bright colors, new sounds, conversations with God and a fresh air of creative life blowing into the church. My senses were aroused and the inspiration was flowing. I am looking forward hopefully and expectantly to InSpire 2014 and will do all I can to create more of this same atmosphere in our church from week to week." 
Greg and Dennis inSpire Gathering Milbert Mariano inSpire goes Social Rajeev and Brittnie
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This year InSpire featured two contests--one for songwriters and one for visual artists. The winning entries for 2013 are as follows:

inSpire 2013 Contests Results
Songwriting Visual Arts
Jael Amador
1st place (iPad)
Song - Let Me Love You
Jesse Aguilera
1st place (iPad)
Art - Escrito Esta
John Millea
2nd place ($200)
Song - Leaning On a Cane
Alexander Wickland
2nd place ($200)
Art - But How Will it End?
Shearin Matute
3rd place ($100)
Song - All That I Need
Richard Hawkins
3rd place ($100)
Art - A Turn in Life's Journey

* inSpire 2013 took place April 26-28 at the Berkely SDA Church, in Berkeley, California.

Rich DuBose is director of Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services. All rights reserved © 2013 Click here for content usage information.