When seeing art on the wall, one might be hit with a different feeling compared to the feeling experienced while creating the art. Seeing your artwork being witnessed by people of all ages brings the art into being in new ways. Mr. Charles Brady, a San Francisco educator and poet, said something counter-cultural like, “The poem takes on the meaning that the reader gives it.” I find this incredibly mature, free, and humble. Most artists do not necessarily want their art to be interpreted. Sometimes the work is deeply personal and specific. Sometimes it is very esoteric and ineffable. Sometimes the subject is exactly what is portrayed. This leads me to think that Mr. Brady, RIP, wanted everyone to engage with the poem or art and make-meaning, whatever that might be. He ultimately wanted their brains, hearts, and souls to grow. As a high school English teacher at our neighborhood Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, he read countless essays written by young women, as well as encouraged them to explore poetry and creative writing. He even slipped Creative Writing prompts into my teacher mailbox, so that I could write along with the class during my prep or free periods. He witnessed the work’s becoming and offered his experiences as a Purple Heart veteran of wars in Korea and Vietnam, a principal at a Zuni School, a poet, father, husband, and educator. He lived into his 90’s and is now at rest.
It is my hope that the senior adults who submitted poems, paintings, and fiber art will be witnessed by children, youth, young adults, and adults, but also share their wisdom and encouragement. I look forward to our second church-wide intergenerational art show. Our first show was entitled “Processing the Pandemic” where works created during or about the pandemic made up the exhibition. In 2023, we encourage artists to show their work under the inclusive title of “All Things New.” This does not mean that the art has to be new, but rather something that is fresh in mind or ready to be witnessed by others.
It used to be that Calvary art shows were given to one artist. Now we look for ways for art to connect the generations and to encourage them to “see” each other. I enjoy a solo art show opening where I can focus on one person’s growth as an artist. An intergenerational church-wide show hits another note and brings in energy from many types of people. We usually have over sixty people attend the opening reception. It is heartening to walk around the room and see artists next to their work engaging with anyone who is curious to know more about their process and experience. It is a rich moment in time where all can talk with each other. Not all folks feel comfortable chatting at coffee hour, but they might feel more comfortable discussing art at an opening reception. Join us this Sunday, February 12, 2023 at 11:15 am in the Lounge. “All Things New” exhibit will continue until April 12.