Last Saturday, I attended a panel discussion entitled “Art From Different Perspectives,” hosted by the Second Baptist Church Tea Society. I didn’t know what to expect, but the title intrigued me and so did the impressive slate of speakers: Artist Lou Stovall, Washington Post Senior Art Critic Paul Richard, and DC Public Schools Director of Visual Arts Paula Sanderlin-Dorosti. The Tea Society hosts this event semi-annually with different topics each time. This was the first time they’d delved into the art world, maybe with a little nudge from the Reverend James Terrell, who is also an artist. What a delightful experience it was! It was so great to be part of a group experiencing art as something more than just stuff that hangs on the wall and matches the sofa.
The Spirituality of Art
By James Stephen Terrell
Art is more than just ink on a piece of paper. Art is more than just colored paint placed on interwoven strands of cotton canvas. Art is a communication beyond words, which triggers our emotion.
It is reflection and contemplation on ideas which brings about a form of meditation. Art is a historical account, a cultural documentation of humanities achievements, fears, triumphs, spiritual development and concern.
No longer can we allow art to be typecast as seductive, or twisted and manipulated into pushing forth ideas of decadence. Art is much more than entertainment. Art is enlightenment. It projects not only human circumstances, it projects the internal and external spiritual experience and existence. Art is a language beyond words. It speaks with sincerity and integrity to the soul of humanity.
Art does not only involve drawing, it involves reading, writing, science and math. It is centered not only on the use of shadow, depth of field, color theory, pattern, texture, 3-dimensional design, curvilinear, angular line, shape, and rhythmic application of paint.
Art is a gateway to meditation, centering and focusing the mind. It is born out of a deep love and a deep devotion consumed with sympathy and immersed in spiritual understanding and enlightenment.
Art at its core expresses and exposes the multiplicity of human emotion and ideas which are not particular to a specific race or culture but exist within and inside all of humanity. Art is not just visual imagery. Art is historical text and commentary, which captures emotional power, exhibits social relevance and promotes spiritual awareness.
Art is a door way into the inner most being of the creator and observer. Art is a window into an ever so present past and ever so distant future reality. It identifies the ideas of people who inhabit the world and although we as people are culturally distinct and physically unique, what lies beneath the layers of so many mundane physical boundaries is a truth, a truth that humanity at its core is spiritually, intricately interlocked, woven together, intermingled and united to an unseen creative force.