Anyone driving by 782 Main Street these days, will notice some exciting new developments on the South side of our building. We were approached by Synonym, a local art consultation duo, who asked if we would be interested in hosting two murals on the South side of our building. We were intrigued for a number of reasons:
- We love beauty and want to be a place that encourages artistic and creative endeavours. We are made in the image and likeness of our Creator, who is the consummate and continual creator.
- We want to bring a sense of hope, life and awe to our neighbourhood. God is the source of all these things and we want to work with him wherever we see the Spirit moving.
- We want to work for the good of our city. Jeremiah exhorted the ancient Hebrews to “work for the good of the city in which you dwell”. We want to partner with our neighbours and discover the ways God is at work in the lives of those around us.
- World class artists painting parts of our story on our walls in a way that is larger and more beautiful than we ever dreamed sure sounds like a God set-up to us!
Symbols are extremely important because of the message and weight they can carry. For this reason, we required that the Elder team (Pastoral and Lay Elders) would give final approval to the mock-ups of the proposed murals. To help the artists understand who we are and what we stand for, we got together with the organizers a number of times and told them some of our stories and shared our deep values and why we’re here. These were great times, and they were moved by what we shared.
After we received the mock-ups, we consulted all kinds of people – artists and non-artists alike, professionals, young, old, indigenous, WCVers and non church goers. While we did seek the input from many of you, we were not able to get to everyone. Thank you for those who did give feedback and reached out to us with comments, questions or concerns. Art is subjective – everyone has an opinion. For this reason we simply wanted to ensure that we nor Jesus were misrepresented in any way. Additionally, we wanted to ensure that our people and the people from our neighbourhood could connect with the proposed murals – that they wouldn’t feel isolated at all. The Elders feel that both murals exceed expectations – in fact, one elder said, “it’s like they’re telling our story on our wall!” Throughout our consultations there were a few cautions that were carefully and prayerfully considered (like ensuring that neighbourhood people don’t feel isolated and that the messaging aligned with our values). We feel right and excited about proceeding.
What both artist duos have come up with is amazing. We believe these public works of art will have far-reaching impact and will hold the keys to many encounters with the God who loves, creates, and is always ready to bring hope to those who are open to receive. We think they will woo and arrest people (in a good way!) In the end, we are a Kingdom people and we are always looking for those places and times when his Kingdom of love and justice breaks in. We think these murals will provide the backdrop for many Kingdom break-ins! To us, it’s obvious the Spirit is at work here! And, while this didn’t influence our decision at all, these murals are a gift.
You will be seeing the progress of both murals over the next 2 weeks. We’ll keep you in suspense regarding the final products (so don’t ask to see the mock-ups). Watch for more details (like how these murals will be part of the Wall-to-Wall mural festival and highlighted during Nuit Blanche on Oct 1)!