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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Participate in Mormon Arts Sunday!

by Scott Hales:

Early last year, I wrote a good-natured satire of “Wear Pants to Church Day”—as well as the strong (sometimes violently-worded) resistance to it—and posted it in two parts (here and here) on A Motley Vision. In the posts, I encouraged all Mormons everywhere to wear a black beret and/or maroon clothing to church on Scout Sunday, the first Sunday in February, to raise awareness of Mormon art and its often-overlooked place in our community. While the posts were obviously tongue-in-cheek, several of us who contribute to and read AMV, realized that the idea was bigger than the satire and decided to take it seriously. On the designated Sunday, the second in February, we donned our black berets and maroon ties, snapped a few selfies for social media, and headed off to church.

This year, when February rolled around, half of us forgot about commemorating Mormon Arts Sunday while the other half kept the tradition alive. (I was among the forgetful.) Feeling like Mormon arts deserved better than that, we decided to move Mormon Arts Sunday officially to the second Sunday in June. We made the move for several reasons. First, we didn’t want Mormon Arts Sunday to conflict with Scout Sunday, even though Scout Sunday seems (in my opinion) to be mostly a relic of the last century. Second, June was the month when the first works of Mormon literature were published in The Evening and Morning Star in 1832. Third, June marks the anniversary of the founding of A Motley Vision in 2004. The move to June seemed right.

This week, in preparation for Sunday, AMV founder William Morris has published a list of things you can do to commemorate Mormon Arts Sunday and show your commitment to Mormon art and solidarity with Mormon artists. I have little to add to his excellent list aside from my support and endorsement. In my opinion, giving Mormon art and artists recognition is one of the most important things we can do for Mormon communities around the world. Too often, after all, we feel as if we have to apologize for Mormon art—or dismiss it for being sentimental, didactic, kitschy, and amateurish—forgetting that Mormon art is not simply what we see on shelves at church bookstores, but also that which we create as Mormons with our own hands. In other words, Mormon art is the creative work we do on a daily basis—in all its forms and mediums. Whenever we do something creative with our Mormon perspectives—through writing, singing, scribbling, drawing, dancing, etc.—we are making Mormon art.

So, to raise awareness for Mormon arts everywhere, don your artsy black berets, wear your maroons and dark reds, and show your support for our artists. And don’t forget to post your Mormon Arts Sunday selfies on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or anything else that helps you show your commitment to Mormon Arts. And use #MormonArtsSunday—‘cause we Mormons are all about our hashtags!

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Scott Hales lives in a small house in a suburb of Cincinnati with his wife and three daughters. He spends a lot of his time reading Mormon fiction and trying to come up with original things to say about it. On weekday mornings, he gets up at 4:40 to teach seminary. On weekday evenings, he and his wife watch network television and wonder what it must be like to have a satellite dish and 400 channels. During the daytime, he is a graduate student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. He doesn't like pets or home repairs. He always likes to watch superhero cartoons with his kids. Sometimes he rides a mountain bike in the woods behind his neighborhood. When he's feeling particularly nostalgic, he'll pull out his masterfully written mission journals and remember the days when he didn't sport sideburns. Twitter: @TheLowTechWorld. Blog:
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gif Image credit: Scott Hales (used with permission).

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