Los Angeles native Jonathan Bock has visited Italy many times, and he's always floored by its wealth of great art—masterpieces at every turn, much of it connected to the church. Son of the late Fred Bock (one of America's best known church musicians), Bock first learned to appreciate art from his father, and because "My mom dragged me to every gallery and museum in Los Angeles and New York and Europe."
Now 42, Bock, founder and president of Grace Hill Media (a PR firm that helps Hollywood studios reach the faith market), wants more Christians involved in the arts—as creators, appreciators, and, in his latest endeavor, supporters. Bock founded the nonprofit organization As1 to encourage the church to embrace its historical role as patrons of the arts—particularly movies and tv.
"In Italy, you see evidence everywhere that there was a time when the church partnered with the artistic community to create timeless, transcendent art," he says. "But today's relationship between the church and Hollywood is a long way from that. Not as far as we used to be, but we've got a ways to go. I feel like Christians need to understand what their role can be as patrons of the arts"—especially when Tinseltown makes movies that the church can embrace.
Question & Answer
Define a modern-day "patron of the arts."
In the 16th century, it was a rich guy in tights with a coin purse. Today, you see signs in movie theaters: Thank you for your patronage. It's the customer, the ticket-buying audience. One ticket does not make a difference, but if we Christians are buying as one, we choose what becomes a hit. If we want our stories told well by the best ...