Art Promotes Community

I have been thinking a lot about community lately. This is probably partly because I am a new empty-nester. Yikes!....part of my community isn't living with me anymore. I have been contemplating and self examining my neighborhood community, the community friends provide outside of where I live, and community we're able to have via the internet. Lastly I have been examining the community that happens because of The Church like the author of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us, "therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

viewers treasured the Modern Quilt Guild of Pittsburgh mini pieces

Fabric and creating has been part of my life probably since I was a child making curtains and rugs out of scraps for my doll house. The work that Carrot Top Studio and our clients provide are a blessing and thoroughly enjoyed but I also appreciate having sewing, design and creating in the "free time" of my days. Therefore the empty nest and examination of community has led me to join a new community of quilters. This weekend I was able to attend an art gallery opening for this group's first ever exhibit. The event promoted community as the members prepared for the event ahead of time and gathered to see each other's works. Additionally because this gallery was in a small space of a large library there was extended community as viewers of the general public stumbled upon or purposefully engaged in the art and with the artists. Experiencing this calls me to encourage you to think about your church buildings. Maybe you have a small space that would be suitable to encourage artists to share their work and the viewer to be challenged by their art? It doesn't need to be fancy. I'd say a clean wall, good lighting, and a simple hanging system would give you a great start. The "gallery" space could have short term or permanent use.
Won't You Be My Neighbor, detail
Getting back to the quilt guild exhibit, here's a detail of my little piece. We were challenged to create a quilt that was no larger than 8 x 10" with the theme of Pittsburgh. Won't You Be My Neighbor? was created because of my love for Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. Inspiration stemmed from a traditional quilt block called “next door neighbor” that has been pieced to surround a representation of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. This work has been made modern through the use of high contrast coloring and grid work style machine quilting. The arched quilting symbolizes our many bridges and the straight lines recall the downtown skyline. All of this is turned as a reflection below the quilted water’s edge.

I'll sign off today looking forward to knowing some of the creative ways you've helped or participated in connecting community and the visual arts!