Like so many people, Randy Siegel has spent the past several months trying to tread the choppy waters of 2020. It hasn’t been easy with waves of emotion and challenge seeming at times overwhelming.
But as an artist, author and motivational speaker, it’s Siegel’s natural inclination to seek meaning and hope through periods of chaos.
“With politics, the pandemic, climate change and racial unrest, I think all of us have at this point are feeling a little bit down and are experiencing low-level depression,” Siegel said.
“But I try to keep looking at the big picture. And I do believe that, at the heart of this, there’s a cultural shift happening. I feel like we’re moving toward a life-sustaining society, committed to healing and recovery. I think if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when something affects one of us, it’s impacts us all.”
As is his way, Siegel took to art for solace throughout these past few months. The result was a number of new paintings that were inspired by the search for hope during trying times. This work laid the foundation for a new exhibit titled Painted Prayers: Prayers During a Pandemic. It will be displayed at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Drive, St. Simons Island, Nov. 11 through Jan. 2.
“Each painting is a prayer and it can be applied to whoever you pray to ... it’s really about intention. Within that, we have three specific intentions, gratitude, trust and service,” he said.
While there will be canvases displaying these themes, the exhibit goes beyond simply observing art. Siegel wants to engage viewers in a new way, encouraging them to mainfest in these concepts in their own lives.
“Most shows are passive. You simply go and look at the art. But for this show, we’re inviting participants — whether online or in-person — to take positive action on each of these intentions,” he said.
These will come in phases and will include local clergy members offering supportive commentary on each theme. The first will be gratitude with Father Tom Purdy at Christ Church Frederica who will provide an eassy on this topic to be shared through mailings and GVA’s social media. The community is also invited to write in to share something they are grateful for, ultimately this will be used to create a new piece of art.
“Between Nov. 11 and 25, leading up to Thanksgiving, we are asking that people email something they are grateful for into GVA (email@example.com). For each submission, $1 donation will be offered to go toward art supplies for Rise Risley Art Center,” he said. “We will also take these gratitude statements and have Gabby Melnick of Gabbitude Graphics in Atlanta create a graphic with the words.”
From there, the theme shifts to trust. The Rev. Kendall Shaw will share his thoughts and an email will distribute those to participants. The action item for trust is sharing a one-word prayer intention, also to be emailed into GVA, Nov. 26 to Dec. 10. Another graphic will be created with these submissions.
“This will be after Thanksgiving through Dec. 10. And we ask that people email in a prayer intention ... it can be ‘peace,’ ‘love,’ ‘harmony,’” Siegel said. “We will create a wonderful prayer wall with another of Gabby’s graphics.”
The final intention will be service. For this piece, Rabbi Rachael Bregman will share musings on service. From Dec. 11 to Jan. 2, nonperishable food items will be collected at GVA for later donation to Sparrow’s Nest food bank.
“I can’t think of a better way than closing out with service,” Siegel said.
Like Siegel, Terri Evans, executive director of GVA, hopes the exhibit will provide some relief and healing after a trying year.
“These challenging times call for art that is especially hopeful and healing,” Evans said. “As we approach Thanksgiving and the end of 2020, we wanted an exhibition that would help to renew the spirit, inspire hope, and invite positive action. And Randy Siegel’s Painted Prayers: Prayers During a Pandemic is just that show.”
The exhibition will be available for viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday at Glynn Visual Arts. Masks are required in the gallery. Private in-person showings are also available by appointment by calling 912-638-8770.
Exhibit can be viewed online as well, for more information, visit GlynnVisualArts.org.