We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Roach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe more in what I have to give than in what I have to lose. Playing it safe never helps anyone. It may keep me from feeling uncomfortable but it won’t create positive change.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The Breath and The Clay is a community of artists led by artists for artists. Our focus explores the various intersections of art, faith and culture. We host regular events, retreats, online gatherings as well as offer mentorship to aspiring artists and creatives. We are rooted in the values of the Christian tradition though we are not a religious organization nor are we funded as an arts organization. So we hold a really unique space as an entity. We exist at the crossroads. This can be tricky to navigate at times. We have lost potential sponsorships because the sponsors assumed we were an arts organization and backed out when they learned of the “religious” element of who we are. On the other hand, we have confounded religious motivated individuals who could not reconcile why we allowed particular speakers to have a platform or why we do not do alter calls at our events. I mention this to say that anyone innovating anything new or creative is not always going to find a prototype out there of what you want to do. You have to pioneer. You have to forge your own way. You have to be willing to face the fire, know who you are and know what you feel called to do. Otherwise, you will collapse under the weight of scrutiny or you will pander to popular opinion. For us, staying true to who we are provided a third space for artists and individuals who have interest in spiritual or faith related themes in their work, yet did not fit the box of church artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I’m not creating, you will find me in the woods on my mountain bike. Our area has some really amazing trails for hiking and biking. After exploring the woods we would hit up Salt and Pepper Indian bistro or grab drinks at The Trophy lounge. Winston Salem has an incredible arts district to explore.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I highly recommend reading Art Needs No Justification by Hans Rookmaaker