Communications - Artistic Leadership at Church of the Good Shepherd

Artistic Leadership at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd:

Meet International Artist John Bunker

"I have been involved in The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd rather intensely for the past ten years.  I have also served on the Riverside Fine Arts Board for 20 years and have just fallen off," says international artist John Bunker,  " In fact, my name is still listed as a past board member as of this conversation.  I love The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd for the visual art and music that we bring in for our community."

One of the ways that we have involved artists to raise money for the church is something we call a Christmas Card fundraiser.  Church member and singer Kate Medill came up with this fun idea.  

"John lives true Christian stewardship.  He uses his wonderful talent within the Parish.  I have been involved with the Good Shepherd Christmas Card outreach project to create Christmas cards using the artwork of local artists.  John set the example by allowing us to use his work, Angel of the Hearts, for the first year and has been a source of guidance in subsequent years, " reports Kate.

John says, " Three years ago, we began developing special art exhibitions surrounding specially created Christmas cards that we sell for the benefit of our church.  We sell the cards during the art exhibition and afterwards." 

On the vestry at the time that this fundraiser was created, John painted the first art card of a beautiful angel.  He not only donated the image for the sale of the cards, he also donated his entire proceeds from the sale of the cards to the church.  Since then, two additional artists have created original paintings and have donated a percentage of sales of their card sales to the church, as well. These Christmas Card Exhibitions are held in Craig Hall at the church during the month of October and have been a holiday success for the past three years.  

"Good Shepherd continues to look for ways to embrace the community surrounding the church, so visual art exhibitions are one of the ways the church is reaching out," John adds.

Another way the church is reaching out to the community is through the Riverside Fine Arts Music Programs, which started as an outreach of the church when the Skinner organ was retrofitted for the church.  John was in charge as Board President at two different times - 2002-2003 and 2008- 2009.  The Riverside Fine Arts Program is now an independent non-profit.  John was involved in the decisions involved in selecting new and emerging artists to give these artists exposure through a visual art exhibition that ran concurrently to the music concerts.  To learn more about the concert series, they publish a guide for the entire season and this program is hosted at http://www.riversidefinearts.org/2016-2017-concert-series .

This concert series hosts musicians who travel from around the world to play in Jacksonville, Florida.  Volunteers work hard to offer these music programs to the community.

"I just love the synchronicity between the music and the worship." John shares.

"Not only are the Bunkers fixtures in the pew each Sunday, they can also be found in the kitchen, helping to cook for special events or delivering food and backpacks to the local pantry and elementary school," concludes Kate.