Introducing...UrbanArtsLive! (TM)

     I have opened a new web page on Blogger for my Children's Creative Arts Program, UrbanArtsLive!(TM) promoting healthy lifestyles for kids through art. Art was always my favorite subject in school, and my projects were always a little "different"...which was not always encouraged at the time. When I was four, I remembered painting a ceramic ear of corn lime green and being criticized by the arts and crafts teacher because everyone knew that corn was yellow. But what he didn't realize was that my grandmother grew corn in our backyard, and it was green at the time, so I painted it green! I also remember getting in trouble with the meanest Kindergarten teacher in the world (who I believe really hated kids) for making a mess with the paint...This is Kindergarten, remember?

    All of my art experiences weren't bad ones, but I always looked forward to creating something that no one had ever seen before. Once I started working with children I realized that art was the one time that they didn't fight, enjoyed what they were doing, and stayed on task. They would constantly ask: '"Is this art day?" Even the ones who didn't want to participate at first changed their minds and joined in for a few minutes.  I have directed art projects for service learning projects, where kids created artworks for patients at the Children's Hospital, put up a mural at the Police station, and made a Freedom banner that was carried  in the Independence Day Parade.

    This is the gift that God has given me, and I am believing that someone will see what I do, catch the vision and that He will prosper me with it, while inspiring kids to create art that will help others. It's not about becoming a great artist, it's about creating beauty in a sometimes not-so-beautiful world. I encourage kids in my art classes to look at the concept, and then create something of their own that is different from everyone else's.I sending this out to the universe and praying for the four winds to carry the voice...of UrbanArtsLive!(TM)

    Please go to: urbanartzlive.blogspot.com



His Banner Over Me is Love - Banners, Flags, Streamers and More! Pt 2

     We left off in part 1 watching some excellent footage of a soloist and group dancing with worship flags. If you watch carefully, the flags are always in motion, and the movements are free and expansive. In other words, the flags are not a distraction and don't appear to be a hindrance to the worship dancer's flow. The same principle applies to billow cloths, banners, tambourines, tabrets, and glory hoops. Although I have not used all of these, there are many good resources online and at bookstores on how to use these worship instruments properly. Remember, we don't go out and buy items to use because it's popular, or because the group we saw at last week's concert had them! We do all things by faith, being led of  God.

     When using a banner, it's best for it to be carried by a strong, tall individual who can place it where it can be easily seen by the congregation. Banners are not intended to be waved back and forth but held steadily until they are set down in a predetermined area, where they will not be knocked over or obstruct doorways or traffic. Some churches place their banners on the walls, drape them over the balcony or keep them in view near the altar as an exhortation to the worshipers.

     Billow cloths are another beautiful enhancement to worship dance, and can be made in various fabrics, colors, and sizes. As with flags and streamers, they must flow freely and not shaken quickly (which gives the effect of shaking out a rug)! There is no limit to how the billow cloths can be used, they can be wrapped around the head or the body, or can represent different objects depending on the dance that is being ministered. Whatever you do, never let it look like you are bullfighting with the cloth; keep it moving and mostly above your waist and head, so that the congregation can receive the full message of your ministry.

     If you would like more information on worship instruments, ZionFire Ministries at www.zionfire.com has excellent information on their website. Helena Thomas is extremely knowledgeable about flags, banners, and the creation of these instruments. Kathleen Grace Brown of Footofthecrossministries.com makes beautiful tabrets and also has information on their use to share with the worship community. Let's take time to learn about what we are doing, so that we can be excellent in all that we do for God!

     Enjoy these videos of worship dance with streamers and billow cloths. Both are excellent examples of their use:


His Banner Over Me is Love - Banners, Flags, Streamers and more! Pt 1

     Flags, banners and streamers can add a very beautiful dimension and visual effect to worship when used correctly. If not, they create little more than a flag show. When the dance ministry was restored to the church, worship instruments were used by a few ministries who understood their complete purpose and use. As the dance ministry continues to increase in popularity, there are many who are using them with good intentions, but often appear to be "going through the motions" because it's the thing to do. Many of the comments on YouTube and similar websites confirm that what people are observing either does not line up with the Word, or does not make sense to them, so that the flags and banners are just another spectacle in God's House.

     Let's do some homework, and learn where the use of flags, banners, and streamers originated so we can have a knowledge base for our framework. Historically, banners were used as a point of consolidation for armies to rally, and where the flag was, the king was. Our King is Christ! In the Old Testament, the word
Nissi from Nec = banner, flag, standard is interchangeable with the word miracle. Banners that glorify God testify to His miracles and chase away darkness (Ps 20:5; Ps. 68:1; Ps. 60:4; Zech. 9:16; Deut. 26:8). God is the miracle worker,and His banner over us is love! (Song of Sol. 2:4)*

     The colors of the worship instruments used are important. One mistake that is often made is to automatically match the color of the flags or streamers to the garments. Don't get stuck in a box--Different colors carry different spiritual meanings, and God may direct you to change flags in the middle of a dance, or to have different dancers use different colors at the same time, so be led by the Holy Spirit! Be sure to use the appropriate sized worship instruments. An adult should always use an adult-sized flag or streamer, and a child should use one that they can carry comfortably. Keep the flag or streamer high in the air, not too close to your body, or directly in front of your face. Relax, breathe, lift your arms from your back, and allow the flags to flow freely with the air, otherwise it will look as if you are fighting with the flags, and that they are winning! I have seen this before, and it doesn't look nice. If you drop your flag, or your streamer gets detached from the rod, keep dancing! One of two things will happen: Someone else in the group will pick it up for you on beat if you can't, or if you can gracefully sweep the streamer up from the floor at some point, you can do it and keep dancing with just the streamer. I have been in both situations and God still got the glory. A flag can become tangled around its rod if you don't hold the cloth properly between your thumb and index finger. Ask your leader how to do this, and practice! 

     Stay tuned for Part 2 of our study!

* From God's Processions: His Victorious Army from Warriors of Praise, teachings by Jan Hamel, Julie Eymann, Charlotte Baker and Alison Garies