This page is a great starting point for learning more about EthnoArts and their use in proclaiming the Gospel among indigenous peoples worldwide, and the need for ethnic art forms to be a part of that process, and subsequently in church life. The Ethnê page begins by asking:
What is EthnoArts and what does it have to do with effective ministry to unreached peoples? EthnoArts is the appropriate use of indigenous artistic expressions (either endemic or adopted) by each ethne or people group to know, worship, and testify about the True God. Music, drama, narratives, poetry, dance, song, and visual arts are examples of EthnoArt forms.
In September 2011 I attended the Arts in Mission 2011: Training for Cross-Cultural Ministry conference in Hertfordshire, U.K., sponsored by All Nations College, the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE), SIL International, and the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
Then in June of this year, a similar one-week training event called Arts 4 a Better Future was staged at GIAL in Dallas, TX (see the video recap here). I didn't attend this one but it provided a refined version of the material from the conference in the UK. Both of these events are examples of the type of training that's available for EthnoArts workers through GIAL's World Arts program. GIAL's Masters in World Arts
prepares students to work cross-culturally alongside singers, musicians, actors, dancers, storytellers, and visual artists, researching the arts of their community. Using these insights, the student will be able to spark artistic creations with artists to respond to their community’s needs in community development, health education, justice issues, language and arts preservation, literacy, Scripture engagement and translation, worship expressions, and other areas.
Depending on prior background and training, as well as the specialization and application courses chosen, graduates will be prepared for careers such as the following:
Community development worker
Trauma healing consultant
Arts consultant for:
Bible translation projects
Schools in cross-cultural contexts
Christian mission agencies
FYI, there are campuses in the UK and Thailand that offer non-accredited courses in Basic Principles of Ethnomusicology and Arts
Although the EthnoArts movement is predominately focused on music, I hope and believe that in time more art forms (such as visual arts) will come to be emphasized as well, and this seems to be the intent. Of course, unlike visual art, music is pretty universal and all cultures need contextualized forms of it for use by the church. Use of indigenous visual forms is less consistent.
Lastly, there are two videos which help to further flesh out what an EthnoArts Consultant or Specialist does or would do. Again, these two videos focus on music, singing and dance, but the same general principals could be applied to visual arts (or an art form that combines visual art with performance art). The first video, Sparking Creativity, shows how an EthnoArts worker helped local Christian musicians in Burkina Faso to create new songs that teach biblical truths:
Sparking Creativity from EthnoArts on Vimeo.
The second video, Understanding, illustrates the tools that allow arts workers to analyze and help co-create local arts (again in this instance through the use of music, singing and dance):
Arts Consultant: Understanding from EthnoArts on Vimeo.