Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gratitude Project - Thanksgiving Square Dallas

 'Thanksgiving Square - Give Thanks'
Mixed Media, 20x30

  Detail of mosaic, Ring of Gratitude and Bell Tower

Presentation to Founding Member of Thanksgiving Square

 Thanksgiving Square Chapel designed by Philip Johnson
 Stained glass ceiling "Glory Window" designed by Gabriel Loire
Ring of Gratitude and Bell Tower in the foreground
with the Wall of Praise

Things do come full circle.  This is a project I worked on in the fall, but, had to keep a secret until it was presented.  The piece above was commissioned to give to Peter Stewart, one of the founding members of Thanksgiving Square.  I worked with the members of the Board to create a piece of Thanksgiving Square.  

I had first visited Thanksgiving Square while attending Texas A&M University.  I cannot remember if it was on the Career Horizons program or later on a college field trip.  When I was looking through the eye of the camera to take this aerial, I remembered my professor's voice telling me to make sure to emphasize the light on the top of the spiral.  The field trip came back to me like it was yesterday.  I remember being in awe of the beautiful spiral ceiling with the light shining through all of the colors of the stained glass.  Whether it was in 1985 or 1987, here I was in 2015, with the great honor of being able to work on this very special project.

After touring the site and listening to what the Board members desired, I wanted to create a piece that encompassed the experience of walking through the site.  Important elements were:  "Give joyful thanks at all times to God," the Ring of Gratitude, the Bell Tower, a mosaic based on Norman Rockwall's "The Golden Rule," the chapel itself which is so iconic, the stained glass and the etching of the dove.  

The background is textured to represent the stained glass. I put the emphasis on the quote that is important to Mr. Stuart by placing it across the page.  I loved the design of the building and in previous studies I had beautiful watercolorings showing the curve of the building and the spiral, but, while going through the process of the design, the elevation of the building came about as a pure and stable icon with no other detail necessary.  Since the idea of Thanksgiving Square has been something that man (man everywhere all over the world, no matter what race) have strived for through out time, I wanted the images of the Bell Tower, the mosaic and the person walking through the Ring of Gratitude to look like memories or images from a dream.  These are recordings of experiences that have happened over time and more of these "memory slides" of people walking through the Ring of Gratitude towards the chapel can happen, it can be any of us in that "memory slide" walking to what Thanksgiving Square stands for.  In the upper corner I represented the etching, by Gabriel Loire, which is in the chapel, to remind us of peace and love.

The presentation was so touching.  I met an amazing group of people.  I was touched, inspired and honored to be part of this project.  I was lucky to get to go to the National Day of Prayer luncheon, a Thanksgiving Square annual event.  There is so much more I can write.  But, I encourage you to learn more about this amazing place, Thanksgiving Square, by visiting their website and getting involved.  If you are lucky enough to be in Dallas, go and visit.  There are restaurants close by and I think soon, they will have tables in the garden.  Take your kids, it is a beautiful experience of peace and innocence. There is something for all of the senses.  My favorite part is watching the little kids reading the Wall of Praise and playing around the Ring of Gratitude.  We were all born with sweetness and innocence....


"Those who worked on what is now known as Thanks-Giving Square, emphasizing “giving and living thanks,” helped make Dallas one of the few cities to witness the unification of races without violence." from the website.

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