First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest
THE WALL: A church in LakeForest, Illinois asked me to create a mural for a hallway wall that had some crazy obstacles. The hallway is the entrance into the classrooms for children. Check out the "before" picture. The wall itself was a structural element for architectural support on the reverse side. There was a small 4 ft door and an arc that was nine inches wide and stuck out from the wall almost 5 inches. In all of my mural projects, I work hard to design, paint and pattern the wall in a way that works with the obstacles, and it’s quite a challenge! As you can see from the photo, the wall was hard to use and it is the first thing families will see as they enter into the children’s area. I think it’s important to have a welcoming feeling in all environments where we want guests to learn, feel safe, and explore ideas.
THE WORKSHOP: For this mural, I first decided to create a workshop to get to know the staff and understand their vision and hope for the space. I worked with a team of leaders and teachers of the children's ministry. I developed a creative workshop to connect the team and to guide the design of the mural. This was not only fun, but a great way for me to quickly grasp the vision of this organization and to better understand what art story would inspire the kids and families who would see this art regularly. It was also a great way to further build trust and collaboration within the leadership team.
THE DESIGN: Initially, I thought I would go with an obvious arc solution, like a sun or rainbow, but after we did the workshop together, another idea emerged. We chose to work with the creation story in Genesis and connect the imagery to land, sea, sky, animals, night and day. I also wanted to use the line work to connect the art on the inside the arc with the art on the outside of it, creating sea and sky on the outside and land and tree on the inside. The arc became a symbol for the earth and growth and the wall became a symbol for sea and sky. The mural turned out great, we also had a day where families could help paint on the wall and everyone loved it. It was quite a transformation for the space.
Workshop sessions are a great way to build your team using art making as a pathway to solutions. The workshops do not require any artistic skill. Instead, I guide participants through art making experiences to tap into their imagination, accessing memory and casting vision though the use of imagery, photography and language. Call me if you would like me to do a workshop for your team!