ANDERSON — Rev. Dr. Arthur Jaggard may have a Bible near at hand, but he’s also likely to have a paintbrush.
The senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Anderson happens to be an artist, and he brings his enthusiasm for art into the church.
Each week, inside what’s known as “The Attic” room at the church, Jaggard meets up with the church’s art guild. Usually about six to 10 artists bring their equipment and their inspiration.
They set up their easels, or stake out space on a table. Paints and brushes are unpacked. Then, they set about the business of creating art while enjoying each other’s company.
“We’re all a bunch of people who like to paint,” says Jaggard simply. The painting preacher is actually better known as Pastor Art.
“This year I’ve been really focusing on puddles,” the chipper artist says. He’s got a large Masonite board lying flat on the table, with a photograph of a puddle for reference nearby. His box of acrylic paints is opened, and he wields a brush as he studies his work in progress. The puddles are a bit of a departure for him since portraits have been his mainstay.
Although he took art courses at the University of Minnesota where he majored in philosophy, Pastor Art says the first big art influence in his life was closer to home. “When I was four, my grandmother started teaching me.”
Seated near Pastor Art, Schafalia Wise works at an easel on a canvas upon which she has sketched a Victorian house.
“I’ve been painting a long time,” says Wise. Although she attended church elsewhere for more than 50 years, Wise starting coming to First Baptist’s art guild and was ultimately won over to the church as well. “The people were so nice.”