People and Progress are the words I would use to describe today. People came off and on this morning while I worked. Traffic was slower this morning so I was able to make great headway on outlining the tree on the left panel of the mural. When more and more people came to the mall for their daily rounds, I would go in spurts of working for awhile and then talking for awhile. Today I brought along a sketch of what the mural will look like when it is complete to visually explain what is being made. It seemed to help people understand the mass of glass on the panels.
Midway through the morning, one of the ladies I met a day or two ago, asked if I'd be around later to bring her granddaughter by. I would be and looked forward to meeting this young gal since she had previously told me about her. After our first discussion she decided the two of them would create a mosaic of their own. Somewhere after noon, she returned with her granddaughter and we began the most productive part of the morning and the highlight of my time at Gateway today. She jumped right in as if she was born knowing how to make a mosaic and fit the pieces together while I glued. She knew to look for the unique pieces. The pieces that make the mosaic interesting. We asked each other if the piece should go here or there and when it fit, she got excited and clapped. I couldn't help but smile as the rest of the mall and the people around disappeared. She had my attention. Then she sat on the floor and started digging through the bucket of green glass pulling out the small, seemingly insignificant pieces. Something was different about each of these pieces, special in little ways and she talked to me about each one. This one had a streak of blue or this one had a bumpy texture. She pulled out a 1/2" square piece of blue had me to look at it. She saw six smaller squares etched into the tiny piece. She amazed me, how did she see that? She kept right on pulling out pieces. Some were different colors, all somewhat out of place in the green bucket of glass. Yet she carefully placed each one on the mosaic so I could fit it in and glue it down.
This process is representative of the people theme today. God brought some very unique individuals to chat. Many the culture would disregard, step away from, or turn their noses up at. I want to share several of them:
The first man and I talked about stained glass windows and his church who commissioned them. He then shared about the lose of his wife of 40+ years and the struggles he experiences from concussions.
Another man showed me his helmet, purchased in the mall, and talked with me about weather and being prepared for every kind of situation.
A man in his late 40's or 50's picked up a giving envelop and chatted while waiting for his mother. He talked about his fixed income but wanted to help people in India in case he never got to travel overseas.
My gentleman who comes for his daily hug stopped by. He and I talked about what he was having for lunch today. His agenda for the day is usually to come to the mall, say hi to people, eat lunch, and walk it off.
A lady who showed obvious signs of a hard life, came over and cheered me on. She shared her desire to keep giving of what little she has to help others. She even talked to a couple who'd come to check out the mosaic and Hope Venture table and encouraged them do something for others. My heart sunk, however, as they side stepped this joy-filled woman.
Then there were the elderly men and their middle aged sons who stopped to check out what I was doing and discuss all sorts of topics. And the moms or couples bringing their wheel-chair bound children with obvious physical and mental disabilities.
God brought the marginalized to me today. The people some wouldn't value. The ones people would look or point at, piety and wonder about. Each of these special unique ones have their place in life and in this world and we miss the gifts they are if we fail to see them. The aren't insignificant, they are the pieces that make the final artwork a masterpiece. They add the interest and the deeper beauty. They may stand out in the process of creating the piece but they are what completes it.
AND though much of the day was about SEEING these people, it was again about great surprises, encouragement, and building relationships. A friend came by and surprised me today. She came and did a bit of a photo and video shoot. I never realized how self conscious that would make me. I hope she got good shots. We chatted, she got me a coffee, and it was just the boost I needed for the rest of the day.
Of course the daily mall - walking crew came by to say hi. They include one man who stops to chat and one who loves telling me off the wall stories. I'm sure I've heard many of them (or versions of them) from my dad and uncles. The guys who take care of the maintenance and security at Gateway also stopped in to check in on the progress and give me a hard time. I also got to chat with the above mentioned young gal's grandmother a bit more in depth today. I learned this woman is a survivor of cancer and loves white flowers because they cause her to think of heaven every time she sees them. I love that. For those of you who know cities show up in my artwork from time to time, don't be surprised if white flowers start showing up in my artwork from here on out.
The day flew by and for those wondering, yes it will take 10 more days to complete the mural, there will be enough to do OR yes we will get it done (minus the part I'm leaving for Hope Venture's Night of Hope fundraiser on October 21, 2016)
And to all who have been following this processes and reading these blogs, thank you. Thanks for caring enough to read and join in on the journey.
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.