We are excited to announce the beginning of ARCEL: The ARC Emerging Leaders Fellowship. This program is focused on young people who are feeling a call to serve in a way that brings together spiritual and creative practices. Creativity, imagination, and the arts have a vital role to play in our faith, and ARC is proud to build on the long list of ARC Fellows from the past by making a particular commitment to support young adults (18 - 35 years old) in this work.

What is the ARCEL Fellowship?

The Emerging ARC Leaders Fellowship is a program designed to accomplish four things:

  1. Identify, annually, six rising young leaders whose sense of calling lives at the intersection of creative practice, spirituality, and work that builds up communities. These leaders will be drawn from gap-year young adults, undergraduates, graduate students, working artists, and early career clergy.

  2. Provide these leaders with exposure to tools, models, and relationships that can help them to thrive in their individual contexts and communities where they may feel disconnected and relatively unsupported in terms of their work to braid together creative and spiritual practices.

  3. Encourage these leaders as they wrestle with their sense of call, introducing them to each other and to networks of other leaders who are at the edge of innovation and discovery about the ways in which the arts and religion can be twinned to produce transformative opportunities for reflection and change.

  4. Make Space for the fellows to reflect and discern how their own unique skills can best be used to promote the flourishing of all creation.

Note: This is less of a training program and more of an opportunity for reflection, re-orientation, and consideration of what leadership might look like for you in your work. While Fellows will almost certainly pick up some skills and develop new ways of discussing their work, inspiration, and service, this Fellowship is more about helping you to clarify, sharpen, and reinforce your own sense of personal trajectory. Individuals looking a more systematic training program in the arts and social justice are encouraged to look at the work of The Sanctuaries, a DC-based organization that ARC supports and endorses.

OK, but what does it look like?

The Fellowship is a six-month program that consists of:

  1. A pre-retreat online orientation Zoom call in mid-March 2019;

  2. a 2 ½ day retreat followed by attendance in ARC’s Theopoetics Conference (2pm Wednesday March 20 -  2pm Sunday March 24), where participants will have the opportunity to network with presenters and attendees;

  3. a series of prompts for reflection meant to support participants in their process of discovery and discernment of call: participants will respond to each prompt (in varying media), sharing their work with their the ARCEL Coordinator, the group, and invited Connectors;

  4. twice-monthly meeting via video conference as a group (every two weeks on Mondays 7-9pm Eastern Time / 4-6pm Pacific Time) where responses to prompts are shared;

  5. access to coaches and mentors to support reflection and the development of skills;

  6. monthly mentoring via video conference (to be arranged by flexible schedule with ARC Young Adult Coordinator);

  7. connection to the network of ARC affiliates whose work is similarly situated at the intersection of the spiritual and creative practices oriented toward supporting a more just world;

  8. a culminating capstone retreat and event (2pm Friday August 16, 2019 -  4pm August 18, 2019) where participants will have the opportunity to lead workshops, offer performances, exhibits and/or make presentations based on their own work.


Fellows are required to attend the retreat gathering and the ARC Theopoetics Conference to be held in Oakland, CA March 20-24, 2019 and a closing retreat August 16-18, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. Air Transportation, lodging, meals, and fees will be provided for ARCEL Fellows for these events. It is also expected that participant attend online Zoom video conference calls every other week. If you are unable to attend the Opening Retreat, ARC Theopoetics Conference, Closing Retreat, and commit to the regular Zoom meetings, please do not apply for the fellowship.

How do I apply?

Send us four things:

  1. A personal statement discussing the ways in which your religious, faith, or spiritual commitment(s) shape your engagement with the world, especially your creative practice(s). (800 words max) OR a video (no longer than 5 minutes),  

  2. How would you describe your connection to community? In what ways has this influenced your life thus far? How would you describe your hopes or longing for community in the future? (500 words max) OR a video (no longer than 3 minutes),

  3. What is it about the ARCEL Fellowship that is compelling to you? Why are you a good fit for it? (500 words max) OR a video (no longer than 3 minutes)

  4. References: Provide two references, one professional and one personal.

Phone Number:
How do you know this person?

Note: If you are submitting a written application, please have all pieces in a single document. If you are submitting a video application, please include the references in a single text document and all the other responses in a single video file that you share the link to (do not send as attachment).  Applications or questions should be sent to ARCEL@ArtsReligionCulture.org. All application materials must be submitted by January 31, 2019 and all decisions will be announced no later than by February 15, 2019.