Education and careers have become hot topics in my house. I always thought that I would have a profession where my efforts would be beneficial to others. Before my jump into artistic pursuits, I earned a Masters in Public Administration and worked for non-profits. I wrote grants and raised money, but I didn't feel a connection with the people I was helping.
Fast forward to today. I treat my art-making as work, but there is still the thrill of discovery or the ahhh! when a print comes out even better than I expected. For the many times I endure the drudgery of framing, the exhilaration I feel when seeing my work fill a gallery is tremendous. It also feels a bit selfish. So I am always looking for ways to share my fascination with art by involving other people. Luckily I have a group of people from First United Church in Bloomington, Indiana who indulge me in my projects and participate with gusto.
Important words were shared by many members and friends of First United Church Bloomington.
We had a memorial service this spring for a nonagenarian man, who was much beloved in our church and community. During the service, three of his grandchildren read passages from authors and thinkers that he had chosen for the event. I was struck by what a gift this is - sharing meaningful ideas with others. I thought that other people might have other words to share. So I asked the congregation to send me their most meaningful words, whether from others or from themselves.
Words cascade like musical notes up and down the hallway gallery.
I received many great submissions - enough to fill our long hallway gallery. Some were funny, others poignant. The time I spent with these words, typesetting, mounting and hanging the exhibit felt quite holy - yet interestingly none of the submissions was from a religious text. People from many generations participated. I found it was a way of involving people who would not necessarily consider themselves artistic in the traditional sense. With the help of lots of leftover foam core and some black bulletin board borders, the words are mounted on a cascading series of lines along the hallway - reminiscent of the music we make each week. The Gift of Words is now being enjoyed each day by members, friends and visitors. People tell me that they read a few each time they are in the building, allowing themselves to savor The Gift of Words from others.