For the past two weeks, I've been painting a dancing saints mural in the undercroft of Saint Paul and Saint James Church of New Haven, CT. Thank you to Katie, Andy, Sarah, Will, Pastor Alex, Wendy, Pastor Vickie, Craig, Alex, and my new friends from the NA meetings who welcomed me into the New Haven community so instantly. Your care, enthusiasm, and support made this project possible.
About the saints: they include historical Christian saints along with community heroes, jazz musicians, dancers, social and political leaders, those who fought for justice, and a past parishioner. Of course, the dance mirror reflects the viewer's image as well as those of the saints; anyone in the room becomes a part of the mural -- welcomed into the community of surrounding saints.
I was privileged to paint while various groups used the space: Loaves and Fishes food pantry, capoeria and flamenco dance groups, and numerous NA groups. I tried to reflected the diversity of life, energy, and courage that came through the space.
Click on the picture below for a video or go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtkF53G1WPk
On a side wall we have Florence Li Tim-Oi, Rev. Pusey, and a famous Jazz musician (name to be inserted)
On the left side of the dance mirror we have Rev. Shoemaker, Bob Yates (former parishioner who was involved with Loaves and Fishes), and Henry VIII (who better to advertise the clothing closet)
The dance mirror reflecting the other side of the wall
On the right side of the mirror we have a famous Flamenco dancer (name to be inserted), Lady Guadalupe, Florence Nightingale, former New Haven Mayor Frank Logue, and Bishop Seabury
View part one of the 50' wall.
View part two of the 50' wall.
Random angel, William Wilberforce, Cinque, David Wooster
John of Arc, Thomas Crammer, Martin Luther King Jr.
The bumps and inconsistencies of the wall made for an interesting challenge. From straight on, the saints look perfectly normally. From a side view, everything shifts. This actually turned out to my advantage since it made the saints' feet look like they were jumping and moving.
Saint Paul & Saint James, Miriam
Saint Thomas, Mestre Bimba, John Coltrane
Dancers that represent the New Haven Ballet that started at Saint Paul and Saint James, Charles Mingus
Please, Charles, stop smoking. This is a church for Christ's sake!
Harriet Tubman, ebullient Bach, Warren Kimbo, another random angel
On the other side wall we have Absalom Jones, Evelyn Underhill, and Samson Occom
Here I fixed Bob's tie to be his most worn burgundy with gray stripes.
I can't wait to attend the opening party at the church in March!