Posted on : Sunday March 1, 2009

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

LAUREL, Md.—On July 23-25, 2009, Lamplights Artists will host RENAISSANCE 516: The Performing and Visual Arts Conference for Students in grades 7-12 at First Church, Laurel.

A shortened version of Lamplight Artist’s previous Youth Performing Arts Camps (YPAC), this year’s RENAISSANCE 516 conference features learning tracks in film (scene development), theater (improv/storytelling), orchestra, vocal, praise band, dance/creative movement, photography, and web design/new media.



Joel Goddard, worship pastor at First Church in Bethlehem, Ga., will serve as conference pastor.
This year’s theme focuses on the art of storytelling.

“The early disciples were eyewitnesses of Jesus, which made their stories believable,” explained Del Morgan, Lamplight Artist’s executive director. “Today, we need to personalize our stories. As we communicate the Gospel, storytelling is crucial.”

To that end, this year’s guest instructors and performers include:

Andrew Bowser, an actor and director born in Annapolis who relocated to Los Angeles. Currently, Bowser is working on a pilot video for MTV. As Bowser pursues directing and acting for film and music video, his main goal is for the audience to see that incorporating Christ in art takes different forms.

Darren Heater, a full-time pastor in Creative Paradox, a growing community of people passionate about the arts, one another and Christ. He has a calling to pastor artists and empower them in their role as missionaries to our culture while telling stories through the power of video/film.  He has received a master’s degree in pastoral counseling and discipleship from Capital Bible Seminary to aid him in this calling.

Kenn Hughes, a trombonist and musical director with Denver & The Mile High Orchestra, a horn-driven Christian band from Nashville, Tenn. He has also toured with Casting Crowns, Jaci Velasquez, Carman, TRUTH and The New Young Messiah Project with Ralph Carmichael conducting. Salvador, Sandi Patty, Larry Dalton, Phil Driscoll, Debby Boone and Kirk Whalum number among those Christian artists with whom Hughes has performed. Hughes holds a master’s degree in music education and is currently serving as the president of and serves as the ministry director for Global Missions Project.

Bruce Kuhn, who has performed on Broadway (Les Miserables) and in repertory theatre (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville). He now tours with his one man shows The Gospel of Luke (in KJV), Acts (in The Message), Tales of Tolstoy, and Cotton Patch Gospel to universities and churches across North America and Europe. He has shared the platform with Franklin Graham and Christian author and apologist Michael Green, appeared at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana Missions Conferences (attended by 20,000-plus college students), and has taught storytelling in nine countries and for several seminaries (including Oxford University).

Steve Wannall, professional actor in the Baltimore/Washington area. A member of Streetlite Christian Fellowship in Baltimore, Md., Wannall has acted in a variety of venues, including the Maryland Renaissance Festival; a traveling Shakespeare company; and the Imagination Stage (formerly, the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts), a theatre and arts education program for young people. He earned a baccalaureate degree in theatre with a minor in history from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He will direct Lamplight Artist’s newly developed Improv Troupe, which will soon perform throughout Maryland.

In addition, other highly trained faculty who promote a biblical worldview of the arts through mentoring, instruction and inspiration will teach RENAISSANCE 516 conference tracks.

As in previous years, Gift Giver Showcase (GGS) performances from the students will be held on Thursday and Friday evenings.  Students will send in audition tapes and be selected prior to the conference to perform on these evenings. GGS will last approximately one hour each evening.

NEW THIS YEAR: The general public is invited to participate in RENAISSANCE 516’s special workshops and performances. (See sidebar for schedule and costs.)

For students, the conference fee, not including lodging and meals, is $95 until June 1, and $125 until July 23. The daily schedule, with breaks, is from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For those from out-of-town, a conference hotel will be available.

RENAISSANCE 516 is the first project of the newly launched STUDIO 516, a discipleship and training program for young artists. The 516 refers to Matt. 5:16, which says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Lamplight Artist’s mission is to bring Light, Truth, and Hope into culture through the arts. They envision raising up artists who are passionate Christ followers; who acknowledge His Lordship in all things; who seek excellence in their craft; and who, empowered through His Spirit, will take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

In its first eight years Lamplight Artists has been privileged to work with over 4,000 students, volunteers and professional staff.

To register, visit online at or First, Laurel, is located at 15000 First Baptist Lane in Laurel; (301) 725-1688. Visit online at for specific directions.

Public invited to RENAISSANCE 516 conference workshops and performances

With such talented artists available, Lamplight Artists invites pastors, church leaders and Christian artists to take advantage of the artistic instruction. The public is invited to attend the following workshops and performances:

Thursday, July 23, Workshops open to public (3:30 – 5:00 p.m.)
— Bruce Kuhn … A Storytelling Masterclass, or
— Darren Heater & Andrew Bowser … Artists as Missionaries to Culture

Thursday, July 23, Evening Performance (7:30 p.m.)
— Bruce Kuhn … The Gospel of Luke

Friday, July 24, Workshops open to public (3:30 – 5:00 p.m.)
— Steve Wannall … Creativity and the Communication of Ideas, or
— Kenn Hughes … The Power of Music in Missions

Friday, July 24, Evening Performances (7:30 p.m.)
— Kenn Hughes and Rockin’ the House Praise Band
— Steve Wannall and the Lamplight Artists Improv Troupe

The cost is $30, for one afternoon workshop (workshops will run concurrently, so choose one) and the evening performances, on Thursday or Friday; or $50, for the two afternoon workshops and two evening performance(s), on Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the performances, Gift Giver Showcase (GGS) performances will be held on Thursday and Friday evenings. GGS will last approximately one hour each evening.

Saturday, July 25, Students’ Conference Closing Celebration (4-5:45 p.m.)
— Public performance (no charge)
For more information, visit online at or contact Del Morgan by phone at (206) 333-0444.