‘Art for Change’ responds to necessary changes via visual art
In the aftermath of the 2016 elections, I conceived an idea for an art show featuring work to help heal and bring perspective to a citizenry of wounded hearts. That idea became Art for Change, which will open at the Launchpad this Friday.
One of the pieces I made for the show, “Prayers for Carbondale,” is a prayer wheel inspired by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of spinning mantra-inscribed cylinders to accumulate wisdom and merit and purify negativities. The prayers are sent out into the spiritual world as the wheel turns.
My son, Daniel, helped me construct the prayer wheel spindle using bicycle wheels, an iconic feature of Carbondale culture. This piece was further inspired by a presentation given by “Community: Heart and Soul” at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit last year in Breckenridge. “Community’s” model resonated with me, and I adopted it in speaking with various groups in Carbondale to discover what people wanted for our evolving community.
In collecting this information, I was deeply touched by the caring and congruence of the thoughts expressed.
I incorporated those expressions into the prayer wheel with major themes embroidered large and individual prayers attached on ribbons, each ribbon with a small bell attached to its end. Bells are traditionally used to call attention to a time or event; in this piece, they represent the inscribed prayers manifesting merit with each spin of the wheel. I am providing a book at the exhibit for visitors to record their prayers, which will be added to the wheel to further enhance its beneficial effects.
As each artist developed their work for the show, the theme of self-transformation became an evident common thread. All five artists touch on change as a tool for personal growth in their work.
Shannon Muse created a glass meditation bowl depicting 12 monks in a circle on the outside and 12 reflected monks inside. This piece rises out of her connection to her meditation group, a transformational experience for her, and is also reflected in her poem below:
Some benevolent God
set me on this unlikely path,
after all these years of solving,
it feels like dissolving,
it feels like free fall,
it feels like freedom.
— Shannon Muse
The five artists share work which is varied in size, medium, approach, and subject matter. All of it is personally meaningful and reflect the artists’ caring hearts and skillful hands. My hope is that viewers will be inspired and moved by this work. Change begins with each of us.
Jill Scher is the curator of “Art for Change.” Other participating artists are Jan Schubert, Jill Sabella, Shannon Muse and Wewer Keohane. Each created pieces using fiber, glass, mixed media, paint, and wax, in response to self-selected inspirational quotations from leaders of social change.