March is Youth Art Month. So it seems fitting to have the children and youth in our church work on a cool art project. And with it being the Lenten season, it also seemed appropriate to make it a creative project that carries a level of reflection and prayerful focus.

That’s why we’re painting icons (technically known as icon writing).

The Icon Writing Project

Iconography is a religious practice that goes back to the first century. Tradition says that Luke, the writer of his Gospel and the Book of Acts, used icons in his travels to help tell the stories about the life and events of Christ and his apostles. Over the years, icons have been used to represent saints, Christ, Mary, and events in the life of Christ.

One practice in iconography is to use existing icon images and recreate them. When doing that, it’s common to keep important elements of the original icon, and add some of your own flair to it.

In SEEK (St. Edward’s Episcopal Kids), the elementary-aged children colored icons. They chose one of several icons they liked, and chose crayons for their coloring.

In EYC (Episcopal Youth Community), the middle and high school-aged youth painted icons. Many of them got a little more creative, using different backgrounds to enhance their images.

Our Youth Art Month Gallery

With our artwork completed, we’re displaying the images as a temporary art gallery in Hartridge Hall for the rest of the month of of March. That takes us through the remainder of Lent, including Holy Week and Easter. After that, the children and youth will be allowed to take their artwork home.

Youth Art Month was started in 1961 as a way to, “emphasize the value of participating in art for all children.”

So while the gallery is on display, please feel free to ask the children and youth about their artwork and encourage them with the amazing work they’ve done!

Check out my Instagram post showing more of the process of this super fun project…

A Prayer After Completing an Icon

Found at

Thou, Thyself, O LORD, art the fulfillment and completion of all good things. Fill my soul with joy and gladness, for Thou alone art the Lover of mankind. Let Thy grace sanctify and dwell within this icon, that it may edify and inspire those who gaze upon it and venerate it; that in glorifying the one depicted, they may be repentant of their sins and strengthened against every attack of the adversary. Through the prayers of the Theotokos, the holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, and all the Saints, O Savior, save us! Amen. 

Final Thoughts

We’re always looking for fun ways to engage the children and youth creatively. Projects like this are fun, but also educational. And we always try to blend in ways that projects like this can deepen their spirituality and faith.

If you have ideas for other types of projects you’d like to help with, then let me (Dan King) know. I’d love to talk through some ideas like that, and figure out ways we can work them in.