I was surprised with the number of people who were interested in the mosaic and the work of Hope Venture today. I realize I'm at the mall to bring awareness to the work Hope Venture does, but I'm amazed at the response. People of all ages touched by the story. Today I did have a first though. After 13 days of working, I had someone ask if the story on the poster about the girl taking her life over 16 cents was true. It wasn't a surprise that the question came up. I told my husband, a few days in to the project, that I was surprised no one had asked if the story was true. It is interesting that it took this long. With the ability to access so much information, it can be very difficult to determine who is telling the truth. I am thankful I can honestly say the people of Hope Venture live lives of integrity and truth. There is much more to write about this idea of truth, but I will save that for another time and place. Maybe when I have more energy and am a little less tired.
I had a number of people stop and talk about art and creating. Many of them looking for ways to express themselves and some with a spark to make a difference. It is interesting that many people seem to understand it doesn't take much to help someone else, yet there is a disconnect to actually doing something about it. I would say at times this is still me. I know that all I may be called to today is to strike up a conversation with the lady in line at the store, but am I willing to step out of myself and risk it? Is it safe? Do I even see her sometimes? And at the heart of it, do I even care? I think some come by interacting with people more naturally than I do. I wouldn't be doing projects like this if it wasn't for God's major movement in my life. I am, by nature, more apt to hide away at home. I'm learning that often insecurities have held me in the shadows, but God has been moving in me, making me bolder. Like I said a few days ago, every moment, every day is a choice to engage with people.
Taking the risk brings great joy. I received a text today from Hope Venture's director; a prayer that I would find joy and see God in this project. I have since the beginning; and one way is through the out pouring of people. The art, at this point, is really secondary. It really is a vehicle to interact with people. That doesn't mean the quality of the work is any less, it just means that the cost of materials, time, control take the back seat to the people interaction. I need to trust God with the final product and enjoy the process. I chuckle as that is the exact lesson God taught me almost 20 years ago during a college life drawing class. I am enjoying the process of this and will grieve the end of this portion of the journey. I will also mourn not being among my friends day in and day out. Not until winter sets in that is, when I'll be back at the mall walking. I will miss my hugs from "Jo" and the special visitors each day. I will miss the excuse to have a daily coffee and talk with the shop manager -- who now knows what type of coffee drink I like. I will miss the extra help on a project. It has been so fun working with fellow artists as well as old and new friends. I've enjoyed sharing what I know about art and mosaics and learning about these people in ways I've never known them before. I have learned more about listening, asking questions, and communicating with others than any other project I've ever worked on.
I look forward to what God will do with the rest of this artwork's journey and story. But for now, the work continues. Progress was made on the base of the mosaic today and the piece is set and ready for helpers this weekend at the public work time. And as much as I will mourn being done with this stage of the process, I am ready to be back home working quietly in my studio for a little while again.
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.