Tuesday, June 18, 2013
In February of 2012, I created my largest piece of art to date, 5 1/2 feet tall by 9 feet wide,
"She Continues to Grow" would be on display for my first featured artist exhibit at The Banana Factory in March of 2012 with it's official First Friday opening on March 3rd, 2012.
To roll things back a bit, on Memorial Day in 2010, a woman named Heather Rodale attended my workshop: "Mandala: An Artful Meditation." What I didn't know at that time, was that she had recently been battling with intermediate melanoma - a disease that is never really "cured." She has most generously credited that afternoon as providing inspiration for creating her own three dimensional mandalas and to quote Heather: "My healing journey became an exciting adventure where I found endless healing strategies through expressive arts. While I did not have control over cancer, I did have control over the art I created or my interactions with art and music."
Heather purchased my mural on the opening night of my exhibit and it would be over a year until I would see it again... Her intention was for it to be installed into a new healing arts facility that she was building.
Heather is the founder of Healing Through The Arts "The techniques and ideas I found so valuable in helping me heal, did not exist in one place. I could not stop dreaming about an organization like Healing Through The Arts...The more I learned about the connection between art and health, the more passionate I became in helping others see it as a source for their healing too. Through changes and transitions of life, Healing Through The Arts can provide inspiration for a lifetime of healing."
I would first visit the new HTTA facility (an in-progress renovation of an old farmhouse) in April when I was invited to be one of the judges for their annual Hope and Healing Juried Art Show. With over 120 entries created by local high school students all carrying the message of hope and healing, it wasn't easy to select the winners.
This was the space where the mural would hang - they had to build a larger wall to accommodate it. Heather unrolled my mural to show the group and it was quite an emotional moment for me to see her again.
On April 29th I was invited back to the facility for a very special event when John Toya, a Jemez Pueblo artist and close friend of the Rodale family would be performing a special blessing in his native language to honor the space. It brought tears to my eyes when he said that everyone in attendance would not only receive this blessing but that everyone we will *ever* know - family and friends, will be receiving it as well.
Housed in the main entrance of the facility, I'm pretty much speechless.
Every bit of effort that went into this piece as well as all of those that have come before and after is worth it. All of the emotion, stress, physical discomfort, confusion... I do not have children, and so my art, writing and teaching is my legacy. With much love and thanks to Heather, a courageous warrior spirit if I've ever met one, She Continues to Grow.
Would you like to make a donation to HTTA? Healing Through The Arts is a 501 (c)(3) and your tax-deductible donation provides those in need with information and resources for healing through the arts. Funds also support the Hope and Healing Juried Art Show and Competition for high school students. This annual event promotes the connection between art and healing and acquires an art collection for placement in patient’s hospital rooms to inspire hope and healing from the beginning of care. It also recognizes the talents of students who give to their community through this effort.
You can view the creation of this piece from start to finish on Flickr.
She Continues to Grow Part 9: Installed In Her New Home!
She Continues to Grow Part 8: She Sells and I Let Go