Artistic Expression as a Form of Resilience

July 02, 2020
Art work done in quarantine by Marissa Bucklew, XPLORmore ResidentArt work done in quarantine by Marissa Bucklew, XPLORmore Resident

2019–2020 NBA XPLOR Residents

NBA XPLOR Residents, a cohort of young adults, are challenged to grow in spirit, service, and justice during their program year. Our 2019–2020 Residents, living and working with Disciples congregations across the U.S., were dealt an additional challenge this year in the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the XPLOR response to the novel Coronavirus, we asked the residents if they would be willing to express themselves creatively as a way to navigate their feelings as in adapting to life under social distancing before their Residency ended in May. We encouraged XPLOR residents to reflect on the ways the pandemic changed their world, and use whatever medium, such as art or poetry, that felt comfortable to share their story. We hope you enjoy their artistic expressions.

As I sit reflecting on how the pandemic has shifted my world, I found that I was at a loss for deep thought and understanding of our new world. I pondered about poetic ways to describe the uncertainties we are living but continuously fell short. In hope to spark some imagination, I started to list the things I grab most as I leave my room. The items in the picture show the things I have touched in the last few weeks as I try to fill my mind and time with a sense of normality. A few books to carry my thoughts away from my bedroom, keys to access the work I do at QC Family Tree, the candle I light when I'm sitting in my reading chair, the stamps I have used when writing loved ones, and the popcorn I was eating as I doodled the mask that is surrounded by words that inspire me through these times. This is a snapshot for my time capsule that I will carry away from this crisis we are experiencing together. An image to mark what I was doing to stay safe and strong in times of global need. It's simplicity is a refreshing reminder to not fix the whole world but feel connected to those that gather around me and bring joy. — Marissa Bucklew, XPLORmore Resident, QC Family Tree           

XPLORmore resident Mady McColm reflects on how social services have changed with the season and the pandemic.

These two banners were created at the beginning of the pandemic by XPLOR Resident Miche Andre and Pastor Helen Hempfling. They are on display in the sanctuary of FCC Bloomington, home to the XPLOR residence.

Consider how different aspects of one’s identity, and the expression thereof, might be challenged by pandemic. Miche Andre offered this art piece as well. 

Spokane Prayer Video

During a time when so much was up in the air, including how their Residency would look, the Spokane House leaned into their faith. They offer this prayer from Maya Angelou. 

NBA XPLOR is a 10-month service residency opportunity for young adults ages 21-30, with the purpose of empowering young adults to discern and develop a “heart for care” as they live together in simple community, engage in direct service and justice work, engage in leadership development, and discern their vocational calls to honor the various communities they are called to serve. Learn more and apply at

Jennifer Williams, 2019-20 XPLOR Resident at Hiram Farm

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NBA XPLOR team (clockwise): Rev. Virzola Law, Rev. Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, Rev. Rebecca Hale and Rev. Dr. Ben Bohren

NBA XPLOR Announces Hiatus for 2020-21 Program Year

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Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, NBA XPLOR Director

XPLOR Responds to Coronavirus with “Virtual” Residency Model

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NBA XPLOR has been a nexus of change and transformation for young adult Residents and local communities since it began in 2004. This spring, COVID-19 brought changes to our program, here's what we're doing.

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