The Artist in Community

This sculpture is a piece I created for the students at the OM Arts Incarnate school in Italy, which I was able to visit for two weeks this past month. This is the explanation I sent with it:

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The concept behind this piece — as a single piece, and not just ten little sculptures — is the way God has created us, as individual artists, to live and operate in community.  I’ve made one piece here for each of you.  (Don’t be too concerned about the characteristics of each piece. As much as I would have liked to pattern each one after all your distinct personalities, that would have been a much bigger project!)  As God has created each of you, and molded you through your life experiences, He has made a wonderful and unique person, every one of you beautiful in your own distinct way, standing on your own, with the gifts that only He could give.

However, He did not just bless you with your unique gifts for you to stand in isolation. He has brought all of you here to Incarnate for these months to form a sacred community. As beautiful and talented and gifted as each of you are by yourself, as a community, you enter and entirely new world. Just as these pieces fit together to form an entirely new sculpture, a sculpture which is greater than simply the sum of its parts, so in community, all of your gifts are reflected and multiplied. Others will take what you have created and build from it, just as you will be inspired and encouraged by what you see God doing through them. You will continue to learn from God, through each other. Just as it was when we went out for the prophetic prayer walk around Bobbio, no one person was given the entire picture, but together, we could see the real message that flowed under each of the smaller pieces, unifying them.

As you leave this place, remember the many ways in which you have grown together and worked together. Understand that the community God has put you in now extends around the world. The places where He will bring you to will be different from Incarnate. They may be larger or smaller, and they will definitely be made up of a vast diversity of people and personalities and gifts and levels of spiritual awareness, but they will be communities nevertheless. It may even take a while for you to figure out where you fit, just as it may take a while to figure out how these little pieces fit into a circle, but with patience, a keen eye, a listening ear and perhaps most important, a tender heart, you will find your place… and in that place, you will begin to see what God is really trying to speak into you and through you.

With all my blessings

— Chuck

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