Saturday, May 13, 2006

350 Finally, The Dispatch has noticed us!

After seven years of pretty much ignoring the wonderful art shows our Visual Arts Ministry has provided the community, Felix Hoover, who writes for the Faith and Values section, has found us. I'm so excited. Now, I don't think he's ever actually seen any of our shows, but he thought it was really significant that we rejected a painting of an artist of the Upper Arlington Art League. Actually, VAM didn't reject it, but one of our pastors did. And that is very clearly stated in our guidelines--either the ministry or the pastoral staff can decide what is appropriate to hang in our home. That's what a church building is, isn't it? It's not THE "church" because that is God's believing people on earth, but a church building is our members' home where we gather for teaching, fellowship and support. It is the home of our church family--and like it or not, Mr. Hoover, we get the say on what goes on our walls. We're not required to accept art that is in conflict with what we teach our children, and the art gallery is in the Sunday School area.

Our gallery space is also the absolutely best hanging space in central Ohio, and the rejected artist has taken advantage of that--I think he's had at least 12 pieces hanging there in the last two years. He's also been rejected twice. The first time was for a painting that showed adults drinking and smoking. Well, do you want that in your Sunday School space and risk having a parent say, "We can get this on TV; I don't bring my kid here for this." The second was a painting designed to look like the 10 commandments, but was about "tolerance." Painted by a guy who was feeling a bit miffed, but not enough to refuse to show anything at our church--just enough to want to rub it in a bit? I'm just speculating here, since I don't know his motives. Perhaps these 10 principles of tolerance weren't thought up just for this painting; maybe they are truly his own personal beliefs, taken in at his mother's knee. However, the artist isn't tolerant of others beliefs and neither is Mr. Hoover when they make a mountain out of a dollop of paint.

The Visual Arts Ministry spent many hours and multiple drafts developing our guidelines (which include our right to reject inappropriate material), and if anyone would like a copy for their own church ministry, I'd be happy to send as a Word attachment. Truth be told, most of the pieces we've rejected have been because they are unsafe or unhangable with our wonderful Arakawa system--and artists get mad about that, too. Our mistake here was not having a copy of the guidelines available at sign-in for those artists who have joined UAAL recently, since we have accepted this group for many years and most of their artists are extremely cooperative and grateful for the exposure in this high profile space with a lot of traffic.

1 comment:

Susan Reynolds said...

Who knew! Well apparently some peole, but not me. Totally cool how you've got the art meets church thing going on a regular basis.

I have to tell you that the one solo show that I did in a church space sold 25 percent of the work at the opening reception. Your artists should be grateful for the opportunity you're providing.

And since gratitude was a virtue the last time I knew, the artists there might be well advised to partake of a dose. I'll exhibit in the place of the miffed artist any time, and not just because of my buckeye roots.

Bravo to you & the rest of your church community. You're welcome to stop by my blog any time; the Artsy Asylum is a no-smoking zone.