“Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba
I went to a discussion at the Lexington Public Library between artists and organizers of the The Way of Sorrows: Stations of The Cross for the 21st Century. It’s a public art installation that follows the Stations of the Cross created by a variety of Lexington artists. Some of the artists didn’t grow up in a Christian denomination with Stations of the Cross, so they didn’t know what it was until they were asked to participate. That they embraced something so deep with which they were unfamiliar I thought inspiring. For readers who, like me, also did not grow up observing Stations of the Cross, it’s essentially a “mini pilgrimage,” as one Catholic called it, in which each station (fourteen in all) represents an event along Jesus’ walk to the cross. The Stations are observed throughout the Lenten season.
Each artist made a piece of artwork for a single station. Our shero, Lori-Lyn Hurley, created the 12th Station “Jesus Speaks to his Mother and the Disciple”. It’s affixed to the fence beside the colorful The Hive salon on Deweese Street (above). As you can see, many of the stations are small and unassuming in their surroundings. I especially loved Lori-Lyn’s piece, not just because of what it represents, but because she worked in design elements from The Hive like the honeycomb shape. With all this work being out in the open my first thought was vandalism. Artist Shawn Gannon loved the idea that the work might sprout legs and find a new home. Apparently, he makes work all the time and leaves it for someone to take. Lori-Lyn’s observation was about the weather and how that would change the look and feel of the work (not necessarily a bad thing). Several of the artists used the word “difficult” to describe the project’s subject matter. In my experience it is very difficult to make art of a spiritual nature, and here we see work that’s not only spiritual but also religious. Rev. Mark Davis from First Presbyterian perhaps said it best when he said, and I’m paraphrasing of course, that religion is a set of prescribed rituals we follow as a community (like Stations of the Cross), where being spiritual is an individual choice.
The Stations are placed throughout downtown Lexington and the project has an audio component to stream or download to a mobile device. You can also borrow an mp3 player from LPL, and I believe they, along with the website, can provide a map of the stations and other useful information about the work. The project is only up March 21-26 in observance of Holy Week. It will take about an hour and a half to walk the whole route, so wear good shoes. You can also go with a group if you prefer. Check the website for dates and times for those. I’m hoping to see all the stations this week, and if you go, I hope you enjoy the experience. (L-R: poet Bianca Spriggs, Rev. Brian Cole of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, painter Lori-Lyn Hurley, photographer Steve Pavey, LexArts’ Nan Golden, artist Shawn Gannon, artist Diane Kahlo, poet Alexis Meza, artist Lucy Becker, Rev. Mark Davis of 1st Pres., singer/songwriter/poet Donald Mason, artist Candace Chaney and Becky Alley. Several other artists and organizers were unable to attend the discussion.)