We have yet another exciting possibility in front of us. You know that big blank canvas, I mean, wall of our gym that faces to the all-to- forgotten West side. (Think of what you see of the church when we look from the 320 Store). Well, it is screaming for some community art.
The Arts Council by way of the Baha’i community and poet Christopher Sims (in only the way God can do) put us in contact with Tia Richardson, a community mural artist from Milwaukee. Not only is she a very talented artist as you can see here, she is a community healer. Tia was able to bring together a Milwaukee neighborhood whose citizen had been shot and killed by a police officer with itself AND the chief of police AND mayor of Milwaukee through a neighborhood mural. Wow!
Her process involves bringing together a cross section of the community to name reality and dream about a different future. Those gathered offer images and Tia creates the art. The community then returns do the actual painting in a “paint by numbers” process.
Tia has come to Rockford several times learning about who we are and what is important to us. I got to see her healing in action at the Beattie Is… Back! Arts Festival where she engaged festival goers around the problems and solutions of our dear city.
This could be a an important healing moment for the West Side of Rockford. With Jeremiah Development, we are applying for grants and laying out a community fundraising strategy, so please pray for God to open doors. Thanks be to God for the art of healing and the healing of the arts.