Shards of Light

An invitation from Ellie Nelson

Shards of Light logo

A Letter from Ellie Nelson

Image of Ellie Nelson I first visited JBU on a chilly November day, expecting to find kind and welcoming people. After all, such was what I’d heard about the school: it was small, friendly, academic, yet laid-back. Though I did become acquainted with many friendly faces, I discovered that JBU is home to something particularly special. My people. Under ruby-crowned maples I spoke with McKi Dirks, editor-in-chief of Shards of Light, the university’s art and literature journal. What she described to me was a gathering of like minds, each equipped to contribute to this journal in a unique way.

The visual and emotional experiences of art are universally acknowledged as beautiful yet simultaneously misunderstood. Many people dread the boredom of art museums, staring at the works and turning away impressed but rather confused. That confusion is not a reflection of the viewer’s intelligence. Art often is, and likely should be, a bit confusing.  Distance between artist and observer is enabled by mystery; art strikes vividly at the soul yet still withholds much of its meaning. This lack of clarity is often what turns people away. However, God has designed many of us in a manner that beautiful mystery is something we seek and relish.

SoL utilizes this creative understanding to celebrate art in a way that all people, no matter their fascination or annoyance with mystery, may be snatched by beauty’s lure. As I flipped through the glossy, eye-catching pages of the journal’s second volume on that autumn day, I was awed by the art but more so by its availability. Possessing a passion for art myself, of course I desire to share it with others and share it in a manner that makes its significance clear. SoL seemed the vehicle to make that passion a possibility. Art is real; art is human. You pierce the mystery, it bleeds. SoL allows people to see, appreciate, and participate in this truth.

Shards of Light employs or imparts many other skills, such as marketing, advertising, publication, and communication. Upon joining the staff this fall I encountered these foreign aspects of the process. Another important component of SoL is mentorship. Knowing experienced, like-minded students are present to guide and incorporate me in caring ways has made involvement much less daunting. I would encourage any writers, drawers, and designers who engage with this reading to consider applying your talents to SoL. The time commitment is manageable, the investment is impactful, and the friendships are rewarding.

Shards of Light Vol. 4

Shards of Light Vol. 3

Shards of Light Vol. 2