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Barbara Nicolosi, "The Artist," from W. David O. Taylor, ed., For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts (Baker, 2010), pp. 114-115

In my experience, artistic talent shows up early. I’m very leery of forty-eight-year-olds who come to me and say, “I think I’m going to become a writer.” I always want to say to them, “And I think I’m going to have an IQ of 237.” It’s not about deciding what talent you have. You either have it, or you don’t.

I was in my seven-year-old nephew’s second-grade class around Christmastime. Looking up on the wall, it was immediately obvious to me which of the little blokes had talent because some of the things on the wall looked like blobs and some looked like reindeer. Not only that, but some kids had put the reindeer in a setting with foreground, while others had them frolicking in the snow. That is, some of the kids were already playing with composition.

I asked my little nephew and his two best friends, Matt and Allen, “Who is the best artist in your class?” And they replied with one refrain: “Joey. Joey can draw.”

Don’t you wish we could do that in the church? Simply accept the self-evident truth that this kid can draw, and that one can sing, and that one is good at dancing? There is something beautiful in the way kids accept the divine economy, which doles out graces and talent so arbitrarily. It’s dreadfully uncivil of God to make us grownups so uncomfortable by giving some kids artistic talents and others none at all.

So, if you want to be a patron of the arts, go into the second grade of your local grammar school, find out whoever produced the coolest reindeer, and then patronize that kid.