Dec. 5, 2006 – The Grove Center for the Arts announced its plans to develop the first national retreat center for arts in the Church. Founded in 2003 and led by Executive Director, Joey O’Connor, the non-profit ministry received a donation of a twelve acre avocado and lemon ranch located in Valley Center, California (North San Diego). The Grove Center for the Arts offers retreats and programs to nurture the spiritual development and creative vision of artists in the Church.
“Whether Catholic or Protestant, in all of our research the past three years, we have yet to find a national center for arts in the Church,” states Executive Director Joey O’Connor. “There are wonderful colleges, universities and churches where the arts are valued, but nowhere in Christendom do we see a creative hub to leverage all of the creative artistic gifts within the Body of Christ for the kingdom of God. We have assembled a wonderful team of architects and developers to create a place where artists of every discipline can gather for spiritual renewal, creative collaboration, and leadership development. We’d like to see artists who are Christians make powerful contributions in art, creativity and innovation within today’s culture.” Initial renderings of The Grove Retreat Center show a large California mission-style home with small guest residences located throughout the property. Equipped with a media center, artist studios, and conference rooms, the retreat facility will host artist-in-residence and gatherings targeted for artists from every discipline. O’Connor continued, “Fuller Theological Seminary and Vanguard University have hosted The Grove Center for the Arts events, which makes collaboration with seminaries, universities and other artistic non-profits a high-priority for us.”
The Grove recently completed the aerial survey and topography of the 12 acre property. The ministry also received a $250,000 matching gift for construction costs. “The 12 acres and the matching gift was a complete surprise, so I have no doubt God will finish what He started. We still have a long way to go, but for people interested in seeing the beauty, goodness and truth of God expressed through film, theatre, music, and every artistic discipline, I know God will continue to provide.”
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