Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Saturday morning I was listening to Whad'Ya Know (I had to look up the spelling of that!) with Michael Feldman, one of my favorite radio programs on NPR. (www.notmuch.com, for those not familiar with him).

He's introduced a new segment called Happy Talk, in which listeners can call in with happy news! The first caller was from Nashville, but I was unable to catch her name or what she was calling about, other than that it had to do with the Belcourt Theater and was some sort of exhibit.

I was just excited that someone from Nashville called in!

Then, this morning I was reading the Sunday paper which I did not have time to read on Sunday, and there was an article about a plein-air artist named Peggy Snow, who has a painting exhibit at the Belcourt through Jan. 22.

I feel sure it's the same person who called in!

There are several really special things about Peggy Snow: one is that she preserves "vanishing street scenes" with her paintings. She paints old buildings and houses, some of which eventually get torn down.

Peggy also exclusively paints in plein air, which means that she stows her paints, canvases, and other "painting stuff" in the back of her vehicle and is always ready to stop and paint at a moment's notice.

Which leads into what I think is the coolest thing of all about Peggy: while she is painting on the street, often in a derelict neighborhood, she interacts with passersby. Often, she meets people who know something about the house, building, or church she is painting.

And often she interacts with homeless people who respond to her work.

She says she meets people from all social stratas.

Now, this is really taking art to its ultimate limit.

I am a writer, and a beginning painter, and know that most artists (whether visual or words) require solitude. It's considered sacred and necessary.

So I think Peggy is pretty special.

My future step-son-in-law (mouthful!) is very involved in his church; he, the minister, and the other elders are becoming more "missional" as they call it.

Basically, it entails being more involved with others and interacting with them where they are.

That's what I see Peggy doing with her art--being "missional". Giving people who live marginally an unexpected gift and receiving in return.

Here's a link to a Tennessean article about Peggy: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090111/ENTERTAINMENT0506/901110311/1005/RSS04

I'm definitely inspired, and feel like I am looking at art in a completely different way. One of those seemingly small things that is fundamentally life changing.

Like the song from our special music at church Sunday, from Steve Fox: "When you change the way you look at things, things change."

Thanks, Peggy. I look forward to seeing your show at the Belcourt and hopefully seeing you on the street painting someday. Maybe you will see me writing or painting there as well!

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