By Lyn Smith-Cottrell (Head of Visual Art)

Twenty years ago the Arts staff went on a retreat to find our 'story' for the Arts at Northside. Through all of the incredible and often unimaginable changes the world has experienced over the past two decades, the story has remained at the heart of our mission for the arts (this includes Visual Art, Film & Television, Music, Drama and Dance).

Our plan of action was to come up with ways that we could reclaim the Arts for God; a plan of action with goals, dreams, aspirations.

The questions we asked ourselves were: 

  • What is our big picture?
  • Why are we here?
  • What are the objectives of our department?
  • What are our plans to meet those objectives?

This is the mission statement that we wrote:

-to know God more intimately, and to grow with our students as they seek Him
-to inspire students to glorify God through the art form they learn, and to walk in obedience to Him
-for each individual student to strive towards the image of God and His creativity
-to find a better understanding of God and the world
-to always genuinely seek for truth, and therefore to always find God at the heart of the search
-to achieve a standard of excellence in all aspects of the work
-to offer opportunities for students to be involved in something bigger than self, to extend beyond the classroom.

A notable piece of writing that is often reflected upon is by the Reverend A. Stockdale, and it is upon this idea that we based much of our story:

When God made the earth, He could have finished it. But He didn’t. He left it as a raw material - to tease us, to tantalise us, to set us thinking and experimenting and risking and adventuring. And therein we find our supreme interest in living.

He left us the challenge or raw materials, not the satisfaction of perfect, finished things.

He left the music unsung and the dramas unplayed.

He left the poetry and the artworks undreamed, in order that men and women might not become bored, but instead be engaged in stimulating, exciting, creative activities that keep them thinking, working, experimenting, and experiencing all the joys and durable satisfactions of achievements.

It has been incredible to see the outworking of students and alumni in this time. To sum up the consistency of this story within the arts department, 20 years ago when God gave us this mandate for the arts, Laurent Pouzet was nine years old - a Year 3 student - and now he’s passionately teaching from this mission statement as Mr Pouzet.

Our desire to reclaim the arts for God and see our mission statement fulfilled is being realised, and will continue onwards.