Guest blogger: Kaitlin Jungles

I’m excited to have guest blogger, local artist, (and friend!) Kaitlin Jungles share about how God has been reshaping and restoring her identity as an artist as she has been painting this year. Kaitlin and I met at a local studio & co-working space here in Charlottesville where I’ve been writing and preparing for A Night of Hope & Reconciliation. We quickly discovered our shared passion for how the arts can bring healing and restoration to a community. I am thrilled to have Kaitlin as a contributing artist for our Night of Hope & Reconciliation: For the City, Through the Arts!

- Julie

The first time I heard about A Night of Hope and Reconciliation, I was so excited because I knew it had the power to really impact the community. When Julie Bernstein asked me to contribute some of my artwork to this event, I was beyond thrilled.

I have always been a painter, but I have not always owned it. From the time I was a little girl, I remember finding so much joy in smearing smooth, wet paint across a blank canvas to create vivid explosions of color. Every chance I got, I would find a way to create something new. My parents even bought me a whole set of art supplies one year for Christmas. They saw there was a reason for my desire to create. They believed in me before I even believed in myself, and invested in the gift I had been given. (I still use the easel they gave me today). My dad is my greatest encourager. He is the one who pushed me to pursue art. He is the one who taught me never to give up on dreaming. My mom constantly speaks truth into my life. They are the kind of support most artists only dream of having. And yet, for a long time, I never fully believed in myself.

Growing up, I was a “dabbler;” I was good at a lot of things but never great. I had nothing to excel in, to own as my talent, at least that’s what I thought. I believed the lie that I had nothing to offer, and for a while, it defined me. Because of this, I went through my childhood thinking the desire to create was neither special, nor deserving of any extra attention. It was something I kept to myself. But I still had a passion for creating, and treasured each opportunity that I had to apply a brush to paper.

Towards the end of my sophomore year of college I met Lauren Stonestreet, a co-founder of The Farm House Cville. As she shared her vision for the cultivation and restoration of the artist community in Charlottesville, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I signed on as an artist because I wanted to see the city restored, but I had no idea just how much the Lord would be restoring me.

I spent the summer creating. For the first time, I finally had a place to not only make artwork, but also share it with others. As I applied paint to canvas, God was reshaping my identity as an artist. The more I painted, to more I saw Him in the little things. Each brushstroke held a new revelation of His character. I began to believe in myself and own the gift He gave me. I can now confidently say that I am an artist, I am a painter, and I am proud of the work that I create.

Creating has a power of healing. The more I paint, the more freedom I feel. Now, the Lord has begun to use my art to minister to others as well as myself. It constantly amazes me how He uses the arts to speak to people in such deep and personal ways, many times without any words at all. The arts have a unique way of bringing restoration and unity. It is something that everyone can understand and relate to despite their differences. Being at The Farm House has shown me the beauty of people’s individual gifts. I am a firm believer that everyone has the ability to create. After all, we are modeled after The Creator. One simply has to find their canvas.

I have realized just how important it is for artists to support each other, and it is so powerful when creators collaborate. I love the power art has to restore, and to be able to create for that purpose is an honor. To be able to come together with so many incredible artists for the healing of the community with A Night of Hope and Reconciliation is truly incredible.

Kaitlin Jungles 1
Kaitlin Jungles 2
Photos by Lauren Stonestreet

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