It was an honor to be asked to create a new art installation for the main entrance area of a church. So we decided to share about the creative process behind this art installation and how it developed from an idea to a finished product.
The church wanted an art piece that would display their vision and history to anyone who walked through their doors. So we came up with an idea to not only showcase the vision and history of this church, but also expand that further to include Christ and His Church. We wanted something visually interesting with depth and dimension and color that captured attention but also connected with people on an emotional and spiritual level. We found some inspiration in the Freedom Wall when it was on display at Passion City Church. This large wall was created to commemorate freedom fighters:
Using this idea as a start, we began to put together ideas around what could fill the space and what we would need to accomplish that. We found old memorabilia from the church that had been saved throughout the years, we collected old barn wood and tin, found frames and interesting religious items at thrift stores, and even scoured through a few friends' barns for some old doors, windows, and interesting metal objects that they donated to the cause. We gathered a variety of fabric swatches and cardboard block letters and pretty much every color of spray paint we could find.
After collecting enough materials, we were ready to start creating pieces for the wall. The art installation area is 46' wide by 10' high, so we had to come up with a lot of different things to fill the space. We created pieces with Bible verses and religious symbols, with words that described the vision of the church, and with numbers representing the address of places the church had met over the years. We used all sorts of techniques, from stained glass to mod podge to poly coating and more. We printed images onto various materials, and also incorporated a significant connection to the city in many of the pieces. A local nonprofit with strong ties to the church cut the city skyline out of sheet metal with their laser cutter. We received amazing artwork contributions from local artists depicting places of significance. Together this created the variety of pieces we needed to put together collectively for the larger display.
The area set aside for the installation was originally just a cement block wall, so a supporting structure had to be built that could hold the weight of the artwork and also provide an appealing backdrop. The finished wall included strips of stained boards that were screwed into a frame that was secured into the wall.
When the backdrop was finished, we started adding the various pieces we had collected and created. Not one piece was hung in its original form; we added an artistic element to each piece that was included to create consistency and tie everything into the look and feel we were going for, and ultimately that's what makes the entire installation cohesive.
After the wall was completed, we were often asked, "what does it mean?" It means so many things that we've struggled to find the words to put around it. But one day our friend Luis Wells-Gonzales provided the perfect description when he said, "This art wall represents my life. All these scraps that God put together to make something beautiful."