From the BBC Grant Community: Art as a Doorway to Transformative Relationship
By Linda Witte Henke
The Dismantling Racism Team of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Carmel, Indiana, sees art as a powerful vehicle for building relationship and celebrating the voices
The parish used its Becoming Beloved Community grant to host “Psalms Revisited,” a 2020 juried exhibition featuring work by Indiana artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color. Although COVID-19 limited the number of visitors, the exhibition nonetheless helped to cultivate relationships of mutual appreciation among participating artists, congregational members, and the wider community.
After the success of “Psalms Revisited,” leaders gathered in November 2021 to start planning a second exhibition, “Roads to Reconciliation,” scheduled for August 2022. Building on the 2020 experience, the team has developed deeper connections with educational programs, community agencies, arts organizations, and religious groups. They have also created an online system for receiving and processing submissions, recruited a diverse and accomplished jury panel, developed plans for improved display of the artwork, and improved publicity through print, electronic, and social media.
The “Roads to Reconciliation” exhibition also complements the congregation’s summer 2022 pilgrimage. About a dozen church members will reflect and travel together to the National Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; the Legacy and Justice Museum in Montgomery, Alabama; and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also in Montgomery. The “Roads” exhibit opening will also coincide with the congregation’s annual commemoration of Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian and civil rights activist who was murdered on August 20, 1965, in Hayneville, Alabama, while shielding 17-year-old Ruby Sales from a shotgun-wielding special county deputy.
For St. Christopher’s, efforts to dismantle racism within ourselves and our community are an important part of following our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For more information about “Roads to Reconciliation” – including submission details – go to https://forms.gle/DqSq43EMUwg8bCEp6.
Photo caption: Kevin James Wilson received the Purchase Award at the 2020 Psalms Revisited exhibition at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Carmel, Indiana, for his painting, “In God’s Hands.” Wilson now serves on the planning team for the congregation’s 2022 exhibition, “Roads to Reconciliation.”
Linda Witte Henke is a designer and artist specializing in work that reflects the seasons, themes, texts, and colors associated with the Christian liturgical calendar. Learn more at www.lindahenke.com.