For a little over a month, artist Randy Siegel has lead a local effort to reflect and connect during difficult times. The St. Simons Island resident has staged his exhibit titled Painted Prayers: Prayers During a Pandemic at Glynn Visual Arts since Nov. 10.
Over that time, Siegel enlisted the help of local leaders in the faith community who shared their thoughts on different elements of spirituality. The Rev. Tom Purdy, episcopal priest at Christ Church Frederica, penned an essay on gratitude and asked that area residents join the conversation by submitting a one-word email expressing something they were grateful for. The submissions were combined in a piece of graphic art and displayed at the art center.
Next, the Rev. Kendall Shaw wrote a piece about trust. The pastor of Gilead Ministry Center in Brunswick and in Jesup explored the notion of trusting God in his writings and the community was asked to submit a one word email connected to that concept. Those, too, were used to make a piece of graphic art that joined its predecessor on the wall of Glynn Visual Arts.
Now, the final part of the series is coming into focus — service. Rabbi Rachael Bregman of Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick shared her thoughts on service and how important it is at a time like this. In her essay, Bregman discusses her perspective on how giving to others helps people of all faiths connect to the divine.
“Service is not an insular activity. Meaning, if we drew a bubble around the action happening when one commits an act of service or loving kindness, it includes not just you who is doing the act and not just the recipient of your action. But rather, the bubble would extend infinitely far,” she wrote.
“We can think of this in temporal terms because kindness and service pay forward. But also, in physical terms, being kind or doing service lets us, those around us and those who benefit dive deep into a connection with the Sacred.”
As the final section of this multi-layered effort, Bregman and Siegel have issued a joint call to service in the community — a collection of nonperishable items for FaithWorks’ Sparrow’s Nest Food Pantry in Brunswick.
Now through Jan. 3, donations will be accepted at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Road, St. Simons Island. They will later be delivered to the food bank.
The exhibit will be available for viewing through early January. For Siegel, seeing this vision come to life in a real and interactive way has been rewarding in a way that is much different than traditional art shows.
“The strong response to ‘Painted Prayer’ has confirmed my belief that art heals and empowers. The visual arts invite us to recognize, express and feel strong emotions in ways that words cannot,” he said.
“Acknowledging our fears, hopes, grief and joy enriches the quality of our lives and inspires us to action.”