Mission In My Words
Making Art "Work"
I’m not that confident in my ability to serve food, but I am very confident in my artwork. I decided to tithe 10% of our sales from our “Spirit of Nashville” prints to a few different charities in the community—with Nashville Rescue Mission being at the top of the list.
My wife and I moved to Nashville in 1986, and attended church in the downtown area. We couldn’t help but notice the number of homeless people walking the streets. We frequently assisted with a program that sheltered the homeless during the winter. Our hearts were heavy for those struggling to survive. Ten years ago, I bought office space near Centennial Park. It opened my eyes to a different group of homeless people—those unwilling to seek help.
I believe in the work of the Mission; they are an oasis in the midst of the desert of homelessness. They provide more than food, clothing and shelter—they offer hope to those who may have made some bad choices and now want help. They provide the homeless with a safe environment, nutritious food and a place to lie down and sleep in peace.
As a follower of Christ, I’m called to be an extension of Him and the grace He freely gives. God entrusted me with a gift of making art. I am a steward of the resources He has blessed me with. So, I ask myself, ‘what do I do with this gift, how do I multiply it to bless others?’ I came to the conclusion it was my responsibility to make my art “work” to help others.
For years, my company dabbled in creating promotional items to give to clients that would show off our design skills. One year we decided to create a wall calendar featuring our art. It was then the “Spirit of Nashville” print series was born. I felt it was important we use these prints to give back. So, in addition to donating 10%, I decided I would donate prints for fundraisers and silent auctions. This led to my creating a special edition print for “Music With A Mission” an annual event benefiting Nashville Rescue Mission.
I may not feel called to serve food, but I have found other ways to give back. I encourage anyone, in any field to utilize the gifts you’ve been given by our Creator to help others. You can make a difference.
Joel graduated from Ringling School of Art & Design in 1986, and won several ADDYS and an Emmy Award for his work on Hey Vern, It’s Ernest. In 1993, he co-founded Anderson Thomas Design, now known as Anderson Design Group, an award-winning firm with a client list that includes Universal Studios, DreamWorks, Hasbro, Golden Books and National Geographic. He is widely known for his popular “Spirit of Nashville” prints.