The end of March and beginning of April have been full of creative energy for me as God opened the floodgates of creating. The journey began several weeks ago as I wrestled with whether or not to hang an exhibit in our church that featured photographs of people's tattoo along with writings to tell part of their life story. Being a congregation that spans generations, I desired to make the motives for the exhibit clear on all levels so I began important conversations with leaders on the topic. Though most were supportive, I was challenged to walk forward with grace and patience. Those two words stuck in my mind as I entered into difficult conversations as to when the exhibit would be hung. Being someone who doesn't have a problem with tattoos, I felt like I was walking on the borders of the issue which made the decision somewhat easier and somewhat harder. Patience and Grace continued to ring in my ears as I wrestled with God and grieved the state of the human heart. I did my best to look at both sides and in the process, God opened the flood gates of artwork as I wrestled with questions concerning generation gaps, gray areas, and more. I was entering territory I had never been and reality was being revealed. In it God lead me to create -- not to only praise Him but for Him to teach me and show me what I needed to see and learn. From it came 19 paintings that God then lead me to hang in the gallery at Lincoln Berean Church. So that tattoo exhibit was put on hold in the church gallery and instead God opened the door for the exhibit to be hung at a place called The Space for about a month from May to June. As I've now hung the Journey of Wrestling Exhibit (you can click on the image below to see the paintings and read more about the exhibit), my hopes are that it will be a catalyst to start the discussion. And soon the tattoo exhibit will go up in celebration of God in the lives of His people.
So while in the intensity of creating that work, I sat in a meeting with a friend in which we came up with an idea for a mural in a downtown Lincoln space called The Pilgrimer (http://thepilgrimer.com/). With only two weeks to First Friday art walk we decided to go forward with the mural by including the community. So starting on March 30 and all that week we invited people who came to The Pilgrimer to write their fear on the wall. Then I went in on Thursday and wrote out the words "You are not alone" all over the wall making a grid to lay down paint. Then on Friday evening the 3rd of April, during First Friday, people who visited The Pilgrimer to listen to the great music also got invited to help paint the wall. Somehow I didn't consider the scope of the project and so I went back the following Monday and Friday to continue work on the wall and will have one more day of painting this coming Friday. Though I didn't know I would be at The Pilgrimer this many days, I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the atmosphere and experiencing what goes on there each day. The space is set up to encourage makers, creatives, and artists to sell their goods as well as a space for gathering for conversation. It is also available for other events. I have enjoyed working on the mural and it will be bittersweet to finish this coming Friday. It has been exciting to give of my time and talent in support of this endeavor. If you are ever in Lincoln, NE stop in at 228 N. 12th and enjoy the atmosphere and a cold coffee toddy. I have overheard many a visitor order one. It has been a whirl wind of activity lately and I am continually overwhelmed at the opportunities God brings my way.
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.