There was this mysterious (Scooby Doo mysterious) art installation that appeared along Logan Blvd. a few weeks ago. A bunch of 8" x 10" placards painted with the word "art", attached to green pickets and planted in the ground spaced equidistantly on both sides of the boulevard for several blocks. It was very cool and very noticeable.
A couple days ago the mystery was solved by a great article in the Chicago Journal. Ben Myers who wrote an article about New Life Lincoln Park's grand opening back in March, wrote the piece.
This quote from artist Gene Pellegrene about why he did the project really intrigued me:
This statement is pregnant, big time! This is an artist who gets it. Art can feel very inaccessible to the uninitiated and as a result people stay away. Art galleries are made for art enthusiasts. The average person wanting to gain an appreciation for art would be unlikely to wander in. "Will they look down at me? Will I trip and knock something over? Do I have the right clothes? What are the rules for interaction while I'm there?" All very intimidating.
Then again, we could be talking about the church, couldn't we?
Let me restate Gene's quote in light of the church: "How many people do you know who go to church? If you're not going to see Jesus, I'm going to bring Him to you."
This has to be the heart of every follower of Jesus and every leader in the church. Bring Jesus creatively to people on their terms in a way that they end up feeling blessed. Good art tells the truth in a way that makes people think and have an emotional response. Isn't Good Gospel the same? Doesn't it need to tell the truth in a way that makes people think and have some sort of emotional response? Transcendence?
And the coolest part of this installation is that it was free for the taking by neighborhood residents after it had been on display for a few weeks. They received a piece of the art for free! I think Gene Pellegrene is a new favorite artist of mine. And a new favorite Evangelist as well.