‘Art Within’ Pioneers Blend Of Faith And Culture In 2nd Annual Symposium And Showcase

Atlanta Media and Arts Group Draws Producers, Screenwriters, and Playwrights From the U.S. and Canada to Cultivate Faith-Based Works for Stage and Screen
( [email protected] ) Oct 08, 2004 08:15 PM EDT

ATLANTA, Ga., Oct. 8, 2004—On the heels of the globally successful Mel Gibson film, The Passion of the Christ, Atlanta media and arts group Art Within offers its 2nd Annual Symposium and Showcase to explore the relationship between faith and art. Playwrights, screenwriters, and producers from all over North America will gather to attend daily think-tank sessions, workshop new material, and offer staged readings of their work during the Oct. 10-16 Symposium at Atlanta’s 14th Street Playhouse.

“Because media and the arts have a massive influence on our worldviews, we believe that playwrights and screenwriters have the greatest opportunity to impact our culture,” said Bryan Coley, artistic director of Atlanta-based Art Within. “To my knowledge, we are the only company anywhere devoted solely to developing, producing, and distributing new scripts that have a faith basis.”

Since its founding in 1995, Art Within has worked to integrate faith and art to impact contemporary culture. Working through the vehicles of theater and film, Art Within focuses on nurturing scriptwriters and screenwriters with a faith perspective and helping producers find high-quality new scripts through Art Within’s development process.

“Thank God for Art Within,” said David McFadzean, last year’s keynote Symposium speaker and executive producer of the television show Home Improvement, “which addresses the problem [of lack of faith-based scripts] by developing writers whose voices imaginatively challenge our culture. This is a program that deserves our support.”

Award-winning playwright Jeanne Murray Walker commented, “At some point it’s possible that many of us—and other people as well—may look back at our Symposium as historic, because we will realize it was the beginning of a group which has the power to change the landscape of theater.”

Writers featured in the 2004 Symposium’s evening Showcases include: Joe Frost, Wayne Harrel, Dennis Hassell, Buddy White, Steve Broyles, and Terri Measel Adams. Plots from this year’s showcased works include a family facing implosion after their son is abducted, and a ladies’ man facing a sexual crisis as he nears his 30th birthday.

“We’ve been developing and producing edgy, even controversial, content for years,” said Coley. “Instead of shrinking from such topics we feel it’s important to engage our culture in its totality, crafting stories in a fresh way that blends spirituality and art.”

Since 1995, Art Within has launched a resident theater company, a literary wing, a creative team to partner with writers, a script development process, and an annual writer’s symposium. Over the next five years, Art Within will commission 23 new scripts for the stage and screen, with the goal of serving as a distribution network for more than 50 producing organizations.