march 18, 2017

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“Learn to respond as if this is the first, and very last day of your life.”
~ Bro. David Steindl-Rast

 

stations

 

I was struck by the close proximity of four churches to the Jenkins public library. With a good arm you could throw a rock and hit all four churches; the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Christian Church, and St. George’s Catholic Church (above and below). The latter two really stood out for me. They were precariously perched on the hillside overlooking the narrow valley of Jenkins. Saint George Catholic Church was particularly interesting to me. With little space for the building, they used nature for what they needed. Behind the church is a small parking lot. At the far end of the lot, the stations of the cross follow a footpath to Christ on the cross, which shows better in the photo below. Opposite the church, a set of stairs lead to the second of two grottos. Unlike the one visible in the photo below, this grotto features vinyl bench seats from a van or bus arranged in an open-air semicircle. Saint George is a sacred space paradise left unexplored only because it was so frigidly cold the day I was there. I’m definitely going back.

 

on the hill

 

Getting to Saint George’s parking lot you make a sharp left turn past the Christian Church (below). No doubt it was designed before ADA compliance, and I suspect, like so many other similar Eastern Kentucky churches, it has been retrofitted with something to help the aged and infirmed reach the second-story sanctuary. I should point out that the two churches opposite Saint George and the Christian Church – the Methodist and Baptist churches – are both made of brick, and they appear to be substantially larger in square footage. Nevertheless, the modest Catholic and Christian Churches stand over Jenkins with as much dignity and charisma as any other church. I’ll be going back when it’s warmer. 

 

in the corner

march 21, 2016

posted in: photography | 1

“Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?”
~ Shirdi Sai Baba

 

being your mother
behold your mother

 

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.

 

the hive
the hive

 

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.

 

discuss (snapseed)
discuss (snapseed)

 

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.)