Alive: A Juried Art Exhibit Opening Easter Day

Growing field near Randolph, TX (detail) by Rebecca Shewmaker

Growing field near Randolph, TX (detail) by Rebecca Shewmaker

On view Easter Sunday, April 16 - May 28, 2017

Art by Wayne Adams, Stefani Allegretti, Matt Ballou, Ben Cowan, Gary Denmon Jr., Carl Dunson, Amy Galloway, Vincent Hawley, Brandon Hochhalter, Tessa Janes, Jayashree Jayapaul, Karah Lain, Holly Leonard, Leandro Lozada, Hal Moran, Elissa Morley, Barry Motes, Tim Robertson, Sintique Rodriguez, Rebecca Shewmaker, Jessica Taylor, Josh Tyson, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Ann Williams, and Curtis Wilks

Warm congratulations to each of the artists whose work was selected to be included in Sojourn Community’s ALIVE exhibit. While reviewing the images online, I was reminded of the challenge we all face in creating works of art. I thought of this task in two ways—the challenge of making a painting and the challenge of making meaning.

Regarding the first—painting itself—l offer this. Painting—a term I am using to represent the media and processes we rely on to fashion images and objects—is not unlike raising a child. Each child has a nature, a natural way of being. To flourish, she will need boundaries and opportunities. Painting seems to go best when paint is allowed to be paint, true to its remarkable nature. In some of the works that I selected, this seemed to happen in a raw and direct manner, unhindered. In other selected pieces, there was ample evidence of careful labor, even mastery—though I suspect that mastery of any medium is a life-long task, perhaps out of range even for the most gifted.

The second challenge artists face has to do with making meaning. To follow my earlier analogy, one hopes that a child will grow to enjoy a meaning-filled life. But no parent can guarantee this. The child will be on her own to find this. In the making of art, meaning—like beauty—is hard to come by. For those of us who are Christians, it may seem that a good way to add significance to our work is to rely on well-worn Christian symbols and images. Sometimes this approach is persuasive, sometimes it is not.

In the end the artist, like the parent, does all she can to cause her work to prosper. Then she must set if free to mean. This is what we can do and it is what we must do. Then, when an artist’s work speaks to us—as many of the works in the ALIVE exhibit surely will—we’ll be grateful for the hands, minds, and hearts that fashioned them and declare together, “Thanks be to God!”

- Cameron J. Anderson, M.F.A., Executive Director, CIVA | Christians in the Visual Arts