Many of my friends on facebook begin to see posts for Karitos and Karitos Indy for about a month before both events. My close friends know that they are Christian Art and worship conferences that I donate my time too in different ways. My closest friends hear me talk about how wonderful my experiences are and why I go and why I try to convince others to go, but I know they are also often left wondering, What is she doing again?
Well, I just came home from the 24th Karitos Worship and Arts Conference and I hope my blog will help answer better what exactly it is and why for me it is so important. To start Karitos was founded by Bob Hay and his late daughter Courtney Hay and a few others as a conference that celebrated christian artists of all kinds. The conference offers classes for three days in visual art, theater, film, music, literary, dance and worship. These classes are practical and spiritual designed to equip and further the education of artists interested in these fields with the hopes those artists will go out into their communities to share their talent. In addition to the workshops at night there are worship times where many of the faculty and attendees share their personal gifts on stage with praise, prayer and worship. From this conference a community has formed of christian artists who share and encourage each other.
This year was the first year the conference was not held in Chicago, instead it was at Park Lawn Assembly of God Church in Milwaukee Wisconsin and ran from August 23 to 25. This year me and my two daughters attended. It was my youngest daughter’s first time. The experience of Karitos is the hardest to explain because it is as close to heaven as I can imagine. Imagine being surrounded by artistic, right brained people who are not afraid to share their talents and are encouraging you to try new ways of expressing yourself. There is no set path for anyone, someone who loves theater can walk into a painting class no matter their level of talent and try it. There is no judgement or discouragement when you think you fall short. You meet people who are not afraid to cry during a worship song ( It is okay to cry in church), or people who are not afraid to do what they feel God or the Holy Spirit might ask them to do. That’s what Karitos is for me it is truly an experience of spiritual freedom.
Artistic people often struggle with feeling accepted and understood, Karitos offers a community of people who understand that struggle and purposely accept and try to understand and be welcoming. Its the people involved, that is more meaningful for me then the event in the end. But the event is beautiful in itself.
This year There were so many new things. Musical Artist Bob Bennet was there and played during the worship time as well as Leon Timbo with Northern Lights United. Both brought a new sound to the stage. Randall Flinn and the Adeum dance Company also aided in the nightly worship times. Other artists in attendance lended their talents with moving dance numbers like “Grace” performed by Emmanuel Williams and then also by Debra Moore. Both moving tellings of the same song. Acting Scenes performed by Howi Tiller and Terry Vik told the story of Paul in prison. And visual artists Linda Harris-Iorio, Joey Kikki, Rosie Martindale and Milton Coronado painted on stage during the worship celebrations.
The three of us had a wonderful time this year soaking in all the new things we experienced. If you are someone who has a talent, a crafty talent an artistic talent and are wanting to know more how your gift can be used this is a fabulous way to find answers to just that, I encourage you to look and see if there is a Karitos happening near you.