You may come to this blog as a friend of InSpero, a participating artist or sponsor, someone who peruses new websites with “made-up” names, or someone who likes looking through books of unusual baby’s names, wondering, “What were they thinking?”
What were we thinking to come up with the name InSpero to reflect our desires to bring hope and beauty to our city through creative community?
I’ll try to articulate our thought process although creative types can’t usually describe why they did what they did. They don’t usually put thought and process in the same sentence. And never articulate.
This “baby” was birthed by Gina Hurry after a very long labor. I (Nancy Carroll) came alongside as a doula, a mentor, and encourager.
(I am the one with the crazy eyes.)
Gina is a woman of deep desires who pours out beauty on canvas and love on those around her. She’s an artist gripped by God’s grace with a vision that goes beyond her own art. She longs to birth a community of artists in the Birmingham area who create together for the common good. Around the country and in the Church, other artists are stirring with this same desire.
And Nancy? I’m coming out of hiding behind “purpose-driven” ways of being acceptably creative. I love writing and connecting people to Christ through Scripture. One of my passions is to provide rest, refueling, and reconnection to those weary in doing good, “being” good, and creating good. But feeling alone.
Doing Came before Naming
Baby didn’t wait for a name but kept growing. We began provided retreats, musical offerings, collaborative art shows, and twilight picnics. We showed artists ways to use Scripture for inspiration.
People kept asking, “What’s your baby’s name?” We pondered. What is this “thing” that’s beginning to happen in Birmingham? We knew the dreams we had for Unnamed Baby: nurturing creative community, connecting people to create together, and celebrating creativity and beauty in our community.
Battling Together to Reveal Beauty in Brokenness
For those who create, there is a battle. There’s the unexpected sadness when we connect with beauty because we know that moment won’t last and what we create in response is never enough, never quite finished. We are vulnerable, exposed, and too wide-open to defend ourselves. We feel isolated and judged as different in a not-good way. We are weary of criticism—especially from ourselves.
Is what I offer worth it? Is it valued? Am I valued? Or am I being foolish? As people look at my art, see me perform, or read my words, do I only hear Bless her little heart? (You have to be from the South to understand that.)
Most people choose detachment and distraction when faced with living with the dichotomy of beauty and brokenness. They keep things at a distance.
Notice less=hurt less.
Artists enter in the dissonance of elusive beauty and ongoing brokenness.
Engage more=hurt more.
InSpero helps weary and wounded artists stay in the battle to reveal beauty in brokenness.
Offering a Place to Refresh and Refuel
We want a place for creatives to reengage, reconnect, refresh, refuel, and refocus. We want to provide a place of hospitality—a place of rest.
A place to give a cold drink of water to the weary and thirsty.
Bringing Hope and Beauty to our City through Creative Community
We want transformation and revival in our hearts and our city. We want to show that art and beauty and creativity matter, that community matters, and that we are not alone. But artists often feel alone which can lead to the temptation to give up. We realized what we most want to offer to artists:
We battle despair with biblical hope. Hope is the ability to be fully alive and engaged now—even in the pain, brokenness, and isolation—resting in the future fact that this isn’t all there is. More awaits: Beauty that will never be taken away.
Hope = Spero (Latin)
Hope > Spero > sparrow.
Are not five sparrows sold
for two pennies?
And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
That’s what we want to remind artists. God has not forgotten you. God values you.
Nothing you do or create as a response to God and his beauty is small. It matters.
Going from Spero to InSpero was a last-minute inspiration.
Inspire = Breathed in by God.
As artists, we believe God breathes in, and in response, we breathe out. We breathe out hope and beauty through whatever form our creativity takes.
So that’s it. We finally named our baby.
But then God smiled.
We found that InSpero is not a word we just made up.
In Latin, inspero means unexpected.
For us, that’s what this journey has been.
Unexpected freedom to create and celebrate.
Whatever is next for InSpero, it will come with unexpected breathed-in/breathed-out moments of hope and beauty.
Join InSpero in This Journey
To get involved or watch our baby grow and change our community for good, go to our website, Inspero.org. Like InSpero on Facebook. Follow our blog posts (from different InSpero artists). Check out our calendar of events. Participate in our artist events. Give. (We’re high on vision, but low on financial resources. You can go to our website to donate so we can continue to bring hope and beauty to Birmingham through creative community.) Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you still trust me after seeing that photograph.