Art & Faith Creative Conversation

Join us at The Art Junction as we explore this new exhibit, reflect and discuss the visual story expressed in this show and create our own expression of the exhibition on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Participants will engage in guided tour of the exhibition A Harvest of Attributes: art that examines the fruit of the spirit. There will be a group discussion of the show and a reflection and study of the ideas behind the exhibit. All participants will then have the opportunity to make a creative expression based on the exhibit, discussion and reflection using various mediums in the studio at the Art Junction in New Haven.

Art & Faith Creative Conversation is limited to 12 participants. This program is free of charge but you must sign up to reserve your spot.

Contact The Art Junction via email: or call 419-935-3404


A Harvest of Attributes: art that examines the fruit of the spirit.

 In a season of change and transition, art is a deep voice, which speaks authentically to our times, and the reality of what is and to the possibility of what might be. The Art Junction and New Haven United Methodist Church present art that examines the fruit of the spirit, which identifies the characteristics of a Christian through visual art.

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of the Christian life according to Paul in his Letter to the Galatians “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.

Art is a symbol, pointing to something else that is beyond us and what we can strive for as an individual and as a community… this group exhibit is The Art Junction and New Haven United Methodist Church’s method to reach out and share a visual story with our community. Community arts provide a new gathering place, a cultural and spiritual touchstone that is a source of community revitalization and neighborhood revival.

The exhibit invites the viewer to examine, participate and listen to the visual story of the attributes of the Christian life that can be gained through surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Art Junction is a community-based art education program designed to bring gallery space, local art exhibitions, lessons and creative opportunities to the Willard area for adults, teens, seniors, and children to learn to create together a better community! The Art Junction is a ministry of the New Haven United Methodist Church.  For more information on this or future programs at The Art Junction contact Kevin Casto M.A., Director, at 419-935-3404, email or visit our blog on Facebook

Hope and Love


Students at the Willard Hope Center completed their “Love”paintings this summer.


The last step to this fun project was to add some clear gloss to the paintings to add a shine.


The paintings will be sold in a silent auction at the 2015 Hope Fest on August 16.


The funds raised from the sale of the students’ paintings will go to fund activities at the Hope Center.


The students did an excellent job with their mixed media paintings.


I hope the community will come and support the kids through this free concert event!



Here are some more examples of the students’ cooperative work.









Hope Center members work to complete their symbol paintings for the Hope Center Auction.


Adding lines, color and texture have been many of the lessons the student members have explored through this year-long project.


Every week we have worked with the students we have had different students work on the paintings which has truly made this work a community effort.


Everyone has learned about symbols in the Christian church and symbols that we encounter in daily life.


Many of the symbols we see we take for granted, and many of the symbols we encounter we really don’t understand their meaning.  Hope Center students have explored these ideas in this project.


It has been interesting to see what images have drawn the students interest and how they have interacted with the work.


It has been fun to see them interact and grow as they explore visual art.


Here are some examples of their work in progress.


The next post will show the next step as the students learn how to apply stencils and spray paint to their images.








Symbols of hope


The Art Junction has returned to the Willard Hope Center this fall to offer some creative opportunities to the student members.


This fall we explored symbols and how many symbols surround us in our daily life.


We explored combining the various symbols together to create a pleasing design to the students.


Everyone enjoyed the activity and could easily relate to the symbols we encounter daily.


Everyone chose different combinations of symbols.


A symbol is an object that represents, stands for, or suggests an idea, visual image, belief, action, or material entity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, or visual images and are used to convey ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for “STOP”.


These symbol ideas will be used in an upcoming painting project the student members will be participating in.


Everyone had fun in the creative opportunity and the fellowship we had.


The Art Junction is a community-based art education program designed to bring gallery space, local art exhibitions, lessons and creative opportunities to the Willard area for adults, teens, seniors, and children to learn to create together a better community! Located at 2634 Prairie Street, New Haven, Ohio 44850 next to the New Haven United Methodist Church.  For more information on this or future programs at the Art Junction contact Kevin Casto M.A., Director, at 419-935-3404, Email or visit our blog

Painting at the Hope Center


The Art Junction recently began a painting program with the kids at the Willard Hope Center on Tuesday afternoons.


Students are exploring acrylic painting to express themselves and to create paintings to be used in the Hope Center’s upcoming auction at the end of May.


During the first painting session students explored mixing and blending related colors as they applied the first layer of color to the canvas.


Everyone enjoyed the process of mixing and applying color.  It seems to be a very therapeutic process to the kids.


Vincent van Gogh stated, “The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.”  I think the students at the Hope Center felt alive during our first session.

A Place for Creatives to Come and Perch


by Chris Breslin 3/11/13

Mercury Studio takes the temperature of Durham’s arts scene.

Unless you’re paying attention, you might mistake the “café work area” of Mercury Studio for another coffee shop, only without the periodic clamor of an espresso bean grinder. When I visited the controlled bustle of the workplace (equal emphases on work and space) this fall, I began to see rhythms and relationships that make this “community-minded coworking space” different from the third spaces in abundance here in Durham, North Carolina.

Near me sat an ER doctor at his personal desk diligently writing a novel. A “home-schooled” teen—which, in this case, deserves scare quotes, as the studio becomes equal parts “home” and “school” on any given school day—works slightly less assiduously through a Mark Twain novel. Later in the day, after-hours studio members drifted in (all members have keys and around the clock access) to work on their passions and/or professions, everyone from videographers to pastors and accountants. Everyone who uses Mercury Studio pays to be a member, and prices vary based on need and use, from the periodic café member to the more dedicated desk or studio member. Some members are full-timers hanging their shingle in the company of others. Others bear a litany of “who-also-______” titles: some who-also pursue a passion, some who-also start to work on the next thing to get them out of the job they hate. Whatever the scenario, they’ve been welcomed into a different way to do it at Mercury Studio, which opened in early 2012.

Katie DeConto helped start Mercury in part because of her first job after college, an office gig that made her wonder if “pushing papers is all there is, you might as well get comfortable,” says the 27-year-old New England transplant. But she relished the fact that her job let her build relationships. “I began to realize what a wasted opportunity it would be not to be able to get to know people who are different,” says DeConto.


Meanwhile, Milligan College friend and trained painter Megan Jones contacted Katie with similar thoughts. “Both of us were realizing the value of a community of people who keep you accountable but also respect the work that you’re doing,” says Jones. Connecting professionals, part-time creatives, and professional artists is especially key for Jones. She says, “Bringing actual artists into the picture elevates the view of artists as professionals and not just ‘art as hobby.'” Non-artists and artists need each other, for they each have something unique to offer the other, says Jones. And artists certainly need other dedicated artists to provide the kind of mentorship and companionship specific to their craft. One of Jones’s early major contributions to Mercury was the vision of professional rapport among like and differently skilled creative professionals.

In this pursuit, Mercury has been true to its elemental namesake: acting as a thermometer and indicating the kind of sea change bubbling up from its surroundings. Without restaurants, art galleries, a major indie record label, and other co-working and creative entrepreneurs around it, the studio might seem like an oddball, either unaware in trying economic times, or painfully idealistic about the desire for people to want to be around each other. Instead, Mercury Studio fits in. It makes total sense in the landscape and dynamic of a city named by The Atlantic as the most creative-class rich metro area in the nation.

Located on the edge of a growing and renewing progressive Southern city, Mercury Studio differs from other small business incubators in that it doesn’t merely serve as a space to get off the ground and then leave, but rather a more stable spot in which to create. Rather than viewing Durham, with it’s affordable cost of living and entrepreneurial spirit, as a launching pad to bigger and better things, many of Mercury Studio’s inhabitants are committed to growth and welfare of their fair Bull City. But ask if Mercury Studio is a “Christian business,” and DeConto shifts in her seat. “This place is so saturated with Christianity that almost everyone knows. We’ve tried to build it on community and grace, concern and consideration of everyone around you. There are no crosses anywhere though.

“It’s very natural,” DeConto says, “all of it flowing out of what we want to be as people and what Jesus might do.”

While half of the Studio houses carrels and café tables and the other half gallery and artist studio space, the entirety bears Jones’s aesthetic touch. Almost every detail of the old storefront, from its repurposed doors-make carrels, to its gallery space bearing the art of a renowned concert poster artist, hints at the intersection of creativity and hospitality that DeConto and Jones have fostered.

In his book The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield says, “The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.” Mercury Studio is designed precisely to combat this sort of existence. While many artists know and experience Pressfield’s description, these co-workers feast on something more than either the mere proximity of coffee-shop working or the isolation of secluded studio life. Through “art salons,” workshops, and other events, the artists stared criticism and ridicule in the face. The result is something strange and at times downright trinitarian: finding one’s existence enriched and passions flourishing in mutuality. These salons offer critique and interpretation for finished or unfinished work, and have served to raise the water level for local artists. They represent hospitable safe havens from the harsh world of inattentive and often unfair criticism, instead providing room for contemplation and advice. In the past several months, Mercury Studio has begun monthly “Listening Rooms,” events that invite local musicians not only to perform but to receive questions, offer answers, and provide an interactive glimpse into new and often unfinished material.

While Mercury’s doors have been open for a year, Jones and DeConto are excited to see how every new member will change the identity of their experiment. DeConto says she is continuing to learn “. . . the power of giving a person a space to belong without expectation. I’ve seen that in my home, my community, and in my church. I’ve watched the effect on a person who has not previously been given that, being told that they are allowed and accepted and cared for. To get to watch them blossom and achieve things.”


Changes are also indicators to Jones and DeConto that the mustard seed of an idea they planted in early 2012 is growing into something much bigger: a witness of creativity and hospitality to the city around it, a place for workers, like birds, to come and perch.

Steak, Art and Hope this weekend!

This is a big weekend in Willard and at the Art Junction.  On Friday the gallery is again open from 4:30 -7:00 pm to view the work of Drue Roberts and his exhibition “The Road So Far…”

On Saturday The Art Junction is again open from 4:30 -7:00 for “The Road So Far…”

The New Haven United Methodist Church next door to the Art Junction is once again having its famous Homemade Swiss Steak Dinner from 5:00 -6:30 pm.

Finally, the Willard Hope Center is having the HopeFest which is a huge, free concert in downtown Willard on Saturday evening!

We hope that you can come and be a part of these great activities in the Willard area!

Meet Painter Bruce Bitmead

The Visitor, 1997, Acrylic on wood panel, Bruce Bitmead

Bruce Philip Bitmead was born in Buffalo, New York in 1963 and graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1983, starting to paint in earnest that same year.  He has been exhibiting his works steadily since 1987, mainly in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, with solo shows in California and London, England.  Bitmead spent much of the 80’s and 90’s employed as a graphic designer and illustrator in Chicago, but returned to Buffalo in 1998, where he concentrates on his personal work.  Bitmead is no stranger to North Central Ohio, having served as an artist in residence in the 90’s at Black River Local Schools and Willard City Schools.

“Since 1983, I have alternately concentrated on drawing, painting and sculpture in both representational and abstract manners.  The skills I learn in one discipline inform the others, which has enabled me to slowly but surely develop a cohesive artistic vision over the past 29 years.  I am glad for the opportunity to gather various types of work and present them in one exhibit at the Art Junction.”

Bruce Bitmead’s long-weathered painting table, or taboret, carries 20 years of paint and scars.

Slick black ice coats the walk on the winding way to Bruce Bitmead’s basement studio. He welcomes me into a single long rectangular room with a low ceiling right off the laundry room of a large brick apartment house anchoring one corner of a Richmond Avenue roundabout. Bitmead is a painter who loves paint. His paint table, or taborette, is evident of the 20-plus years of his artistic life. A short, ordinary, mass-produced, two-shelved cabinet, it is essentially grey with years of built-up encrustations of flicked pigment mixed into a congealed impasto. It stands on little wheels as over time he moves it from one studio to another.

“Twelve years in Buffalo, the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place,” he says, “Seven years in one apartment.”  After art school, Bitmead was a graphic artist for a while in Illinois. With no car or bike but not far from work, he spent evenings walking home through lighted suburban neighborhoods wondering what lives were lived within. His paintings, landscapes for the most part, create for the viewer the same wonder lust. Using the pictorial vocabulary of Edward Hopper, Fairfield Porter, and more recently Alex Katz, Bitmead situates his subject houses in a built environment. They look heavy in the earth, fixed vessels with strong intentional architecture in a palette of grays, blues, and ocher-whites that appear inhabited but give no animate expectations. He illuminates these in brush-width strokes: windows in the side of a house, moonlight grazing sidewalks.

Unlike Hopper or Porter, there is no narrative, no visual story line to identify time or place. Nothing to suggest familiarity. His paintings are closer to those of the well-known New York painter, Alex Katz. Like Katz, Bitmead builds paintings modularily with a fully loaded brush, creating a stark solid weight of a roof line in one stroke, placing one tree slightly in front of another tree and both in front of a house within a raking light ebbing at the penumbra of a cast shadow all with an assured sense of the way paint color affects the perception of volume in a painting.“I always felt outside, even in a city, felt left out of things, uninvited wondering what it would be to be part of something inside,” he says.

Bitmead’s paintings are strong in exactly those terms and why a viewer might recognize a similar vantage point: the sense of outside, just passing through. One new painting is of doors—one facing another, each seeming to question the other’s interior. Another sites a low brick wall featuring a vacant open rectangle with blue sky beyond. Bitmead works in a painterly way, investing his images with both craft and character, but it is the character of a glimpse, a brief encounter, a momentary memory flash to a film, or novel, or poem. It is in the rectangle and how the distance from the painter (observer) to the space (subject matter) creates a context, a believable place. In Bitmead, an artist with a gentle probing curiosity, inspiration is fused with an incentive to find the intrinsic character of each spatial mystery.

-From: Artvoice Buffalo, NY

Bitmead’s exhibit called Deleted Scenes Selected drawings, paintings and sculptures since 1997 by Bruce Philip Bitmead, which opens at the Art Junction on Friday July 20, 2012 with a reception.  The Art Junction is located at 2634 Prairie Street, New Haven, Ohio 44850 next to the New Haven United Methodist Church Regular Gallery Hours: Fridays & Saturdays July 21 – August 18, 2012 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. *Special showings upon request!

The Art Junction is a community-based art education program designed to bring gallery space, local art exhibitions, lessons and creative opportunities to the Willard area for adults, teens, seniors, and children to learn to create together a better community! For more information on this or future programs at the Art Junction contact Kevin Casto M.A., Director, at 419-935-3404, Email or visit our blog

Painting at The Hope Center -the final coat of paint

The last two painting sessions were a lot of fun as the participants added letters and words into their image.

Adding text to an image can aid the artist and viewer in interpreting the expression of the painting.

Adding masking tape to cover what you want to save and deleting what needs to be covered is the next step.

Working in community aids the process and encourages the creative process.

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision. -James Whistler

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

Art and the creative process allows us to make sense of the world around us as we seek to form an expression of what we experience.
Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art. -Miguel Angel Ruiz
As we join together in this dance of life creativity is the song we learn to sing together.
Joining together in the creative process allows hope to be passed along to those who do not fully understand its meaning.
I challenge you to share the creativity with those around you…instilling hope for our future.  These paintings will be auctioned off at the Hope Center Auction.  I hope you can support this effort in some way!