What does “Love First; ask questions later,” mean to you?
"It means to always believe the best in people. To give out before ever asking what's in it for you. Love is always the right answer, and when we act out of Love, we're doing the right thing." -Faith Dwight
"I guess that the first response must always be to love. Working out logistics and politics etc is not so important." -Hannah Haigh
"I believe our mandate as humans is to love without condition and reservation. For me it means to love the unlovely - to love when it hurts, your emotions refuse it, your intellect denies it and your whole being rejects it, but you love before you find a reason to love, you love because it changes the world of the one in front of you." -Joshua Luke Smith
Love has a way of getting under our skin, getting to the core of who we are, and bringing out the best in us. When love is shared, then combined with the passions of others, what it can ignite is infinite. Exponential power. Exponential change. A remaking of the world from the inside out.
The idea for this artist collective took wing this past spring on the tailwind of Ann Voskamp’s blog posts on her trip to Iraq with the Preemptive Love Coalition. Her descriptions of individuals in ISIS territory, loving despite danger, dug deep into Faith and Hannah’s psyches.
After this encounter, Faith and Hannah shared news stories on ISIS with each other many times. “I was reading about the victims of ISIS constantly, and my heart was completely broken. I laid awake at night and cried. I felt so helpless and confused, too: how could God care about me following my creative dreams when there were people dying at the hands of ISIS?” says Faith.
“That's when it hit me: my dreams are not for me. They are not solely for the purpose of me taking pretty pictures and making money to take nice vacations and buy expensive throw pillows. They are for the greater good - they are about serving others and bringing Hope where there is none.”
This was a catalyzing moment for the trio.
“We wanted to do something, and it made sense to use our art,” says Hannah.
At first they considered designing a print to raise money for PLC. Faith, a photographer could contribute a print, and Hannah, a typographer, could add some hand lettering to the top. Then they tossed around the idea of starting a temporary, online shop and getting other artists involved in contributing work. It was Joshua, Hannah’s brother, a spoken word poet and hip hop artist, who suggested a permanent online collective that could raise funds to support the work of many charities over time.
Joshua says, “Faith and Hannah birthed the project out of a feeling of powerlessness, a desire to see change happen in any way they were personally capable of - I joined the team with the same heart and we began dreaming and growing from there.”
This dream has blossomed into something lovely: products from a variety of artists, in a variety of genres, working together to creatively pursue love for all people. Eighty percent of the proceeds of these products go to support the chosen charity (the other twenty percent going back into the running of the site). From now until December, money raised will go to PLC.
“Our goal is to help five women start businesses. That means raising $5,000. We're not there yet, but we made that goal because it was audacious! We'd love to see the women we're supporting given hope for their own futures as well as their children's,” says Faith.
Making art is definitely more than a self-focused dream for the creators of The Love Collaborative. It is a holy calling.
“I have always held the belief that art should speak of realities bigger and beyond ourselves. Not to diminish our personal story in any respect but to relate it in ways that could have a positive impact on those around us,” Joshua says.
Faith has come to agree. “I used to think that my dreams were just that - dreams. Things to daydream about while I sat at my desk. I didn't think I had what it took. But God has taught me over the last couple of years that our dreams are there for a purpose. They keep us up at night because they're significant, and they're not to be wasted.”
When we dream of love, we are dreaming of a world remade. Let’s allow our combined imaginations to create a new world, a piece of Art on a global scale. Together we can.
Thank you, Faith, Hannah, and Joshua for reminding us.