Art in the Image participated in caregiving through art-making on September 22 at the United Methodist Children’s Home. This is a part of a project for the pastoral care class of Dr. Greg Ellison, Caring with Marginalized Populations. The participants include Brittany Carter, Har’ree Williams and myself, Darci Jaret. We have used the pastoral care models addressed in the class to adapt the model for caregiving that Art in the Image has been developing for the past two years.
The young adults at the United Methodist Children’s Home could be in a position of invisibility and vulnerable to despair, apathy and shame-the three primary threats to hope according to Dr. Ellison describes in his book Cut Dead But Still Alive. Ellison accurately describes what may be the foster care youth’s position: “For the cut dead who are trapped in vicious cycles of neglect, hopelessness hovers like clouds of sulfuric rain, nightmares of dreaded future seep into present reality, and self-esteem shrivels like gas-soaked paper-mache.”
We don’t claim to know the exact situation of any of the young adults at UMCH, but being a part of the foster care system could render one voiceless and invisible and we as a group must be prepared to see what is might be invisible to others.
The emphasis of our visual arts mural creation is on seeing and being seen. This emphasis bridges the artistic endeavor with the personal struggle of those who have been marginalized. Seeing and perception are key ingredients in an artistic viewpoint. This artistic perspective ignites the imagination and this can spark hope- even in the most desperate situations. This is our hope.
Here are some photos of the piece- that speaks to being voiceless- yet targeted. But the movement in the image brings splashes of color- which could be an in-breaking of hope. This was an amazing project.
Thanks so much to the Methodist Studies program and Dr. Burkholder at Candler School of Theology! This program donated a large 48″ x 48″ canvas for this care-giving art seminar at the United Methodist Children’s Home.
Ellison, Gregory C. II. Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men. (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2013.).