During Spiritual Life activities we always pay special attention to the details of the environment we are in. First and foremost, we pay special attention to the fact that we are acting as God’s hands and feet in an environment where the young people we serve have been affected by traumas of every kind. As ambassadors for healing and a return to wholeness, we know that how we do what we do is as important, if not more so, than what we do. God’s in charge, we just “set the table.” And we work to do that beautifully and well so as to create glimpses of the Divine.
Our Sue Cole Memorial Chapel is a beautiful sanctuary with colorful banners that read, “Love One Another,” “Hope,” “Rejoice,” and “Grant me the Serenity.” It is a place of refuge where we only use incandescent or candlelight. It is a place of beauty where on a clear day you can see Mount Susitna and the Alaska Range and at night the twinkle of the city lights. It is a place that very intentionally includes artful items that make concrete the abstract notion of the Divine.
It has been said that a man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “The goal of life is rapture (a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of Divine things). Art is the way we experience it. Art is a transforming experience.”
An accomplished artist, Dianne Barske has been on our board of directors for many years. She has illustrated many children’s books and has created beautiful commemorative works of art that celebrate milestones in our agency’s history. Last Friday night she had her 1st art opening in many years. Several people from our management team attended the celebration and were treated to the gift of viewing her many soul-filled paintings.
Amongst the stunning landscapes and wildlife works was a painting of an Alaskan Native woman raising her arms and face heavenward in an obvious act of reverence, invitation and worship. This painting spoke to our President & CEO Denis McCarville and I in a powerful way. To us this painting illustrates and embodies our mission here; it seems to say, ‘this is Holy ground, we are Holy people, and the Holy is here with us.’ The painting’s name is ‘To the Spirits,’ and it is coming to live here in our chapel as another visual reminder that we are part of the Holy.
Nietzsche said, “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” And so it is with gratitude that we announce that Dianne is donating to AK Child & Family a portion of all proceeds from her art show that runs now through January 28, 6am-3pm at Doriola’s – 510 West Tudor. Thank you Dianne for all the gracious gifts you have bestowed upon our mission. Thank you Denis for coming to the conclusion that the painting, “To the Spirits”, should find a new home at AK Child & Family. And thanks be to God for the way heaven and earth intersect through art.