Art provokes us. Art calls forth a reaction.
The concept that art can provoke healing is what led to the creation of The Backyard Mosaic Women’s Project in 2004 in Madison, Wisc. Founded by ELCA Pastors Mary Pharmer and Julia Weaver, whose call includes both jail chaplaincy and arts programming, the project is an art program for women who are being released from jail and want put their lives back together in a sober, spiritual way.
The choice of mosaic as the group’s medium is not accidental. A mosaic is a surface decoration made by inlaying small pieces of various materials, usually glass, often broken. These varied pieces are put together to form pictures or patterns of beauty.
As Chaplain Weaver notes, “So too, our lives are often broken. Our life work is putting the broken pieces back together in an image of beauty.” That’s what art is. That’s what art does.
This message is adapted from “Art as healing” written by Susan Schneider that first appeared in the August 2015 issue of Café magazine.