Visual art serves to enhance our world and our worship and to express our thoughts and feelings in ways beyond everyday communication.
Building Bridges: Face the Past,
Create the Future
The art in this show came from a pair of workshops for people to make Social Justice paintings at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling for the Poetry Slam February 15, 2020.
We invited people in the church and in the community to help create 16 x 20” painted acrylic canvases for the Poetry Slam and to exhibit at the church. We took our inspiration from the art and style of Jacob Lawrence, an African American artist who painted the sixty panel Great Migration series in the 1940s. People were invited to choose their own social issue. Several people created more than one canvas. Issues included: worries over environmental devastation and climate change, black racial history from slavery to current mass incarceration, the military violence, gun control, migrant family separation of children at the border, isolation, mental health, and abuse. Images of protests and marches helped describe both history and current events. In addition, several artists brought hope by choosing to create images of bridges and emphasize the theme reflected in the show’s title: Building Bridges: Face the Past, Create the Future.
The artists chose to emulate or learn from the style of Jacob Lawrence, the way he used thoughtful compositions of simplified forms and colors to illustrate stories. It is a form of Social Realism that Lawrence used in the 1940’s after the time of the Great Migration of African Americans in the the Depression era. They moved North to find jobs and a better way of life. Their difficulties and hope for the future inspired the artists in this show.