Each year, the School of the Arts provides Arts in Mission scholarships for currently enrolled students pursuing a summer experience that integrates missions and the arts. In the summer of 2021, studio art major Natalie Myers and game design and 3D animation major Bridget Hooks received this scholarship, and both embarked on a journey of a lifetime. Natalie went to Uganda where she worked with HEAL ministries. Bridget went to Germany to work Gemstone Media.
During the month of June, Natalie spent time with Heal ministries at James Place located in Jinja, Uganda that serves orphans and widows. Natalie was selected to work in the Artisan Program that allows the women to learn and develop a specific skill set in either rug making, jewelry design, pottery, or leather works. These skill sets empower the women to become sustainable, equipping them to provide school fees, rent, and groceries for their families.
“I feel like I was born to use my art (whether that be painting, pottery, words, use of textiles, or hospitality) to make the Kingdom known to those around me. And recently He has reversed that psychology to teaching me more about him through my own art” said Natalie in her proposal for the Arts in Mission scholarship. In Uganda, while working with this program she found peace and spiritual calling. “It is a stow away with the lord. I have felt him so simply and intimately here,” she said of her time in Uganda. She used her artistry to minister and work with the individuals in the program. “I just want to be a well-made vessel retaining all the goodness, richness, and even burdens of God’s heart. He is making all things new. I see it in my new friends and sisters…I stand here in Jinja boasting in the Lord for all he has done and will do,” said Natalie.
Bridget lived with a host family and worked with Gemstone Media in Germany. “I don't know where to start! I took in an immense amount of information this summer. Not only did I dive deeper into the process of film making, but I also learned so much about the world around me. God created incredible, unique places, but when you look closely you can find wonderful similarities in each place that tie us all together. I love that! Getting to meet people from all over the world with different experiences, cultures, and languages was just incredible,” replied Bridget when asked about her experience.
Her job allowed her to take on many responsibilities from logo design to lighting technician and rigger, camera op, and production assistant for the short film, Candlelight. “I used to think the arts had their own separate categories and that there weren't a ton of collaboration opportunities. This trip changed that perspective! A production is stronger when people from different backgrounds come together,” said Bridget. Not only did she return with a wider world perspective, but she also gained an appreciation for being part of a team, a key part of the School of the Arts core curriculum.