One of my friends teaches art at a small university in rural Iowa. Recently, she and a group of her students completed an outdoor mural as a public art project.
In some ways, it’s a study in community – not only because it was created through the cooperative efforts of a group of talented students (and their professor) but also because it celebrates the history of the community in which it was created. It also acts as a very visible – and very literal – connection between “town” and “gown.”
In some ways, it’s a study in contrast – the vintage, photo-realistic, and primarily monochromatic service station and automobile contrasted with the modern, abstract, and unabashedly colorful background. You might not even expect those things to work together. The results, though, speak for themselves, with each quality complementing and highlighting the other – and the piece wouldn’t be nearly as striking without those contrasts.
In some ways, it’s a study in (perhaps entirely unintentional) metaphor – a reminder that our differences don’t have to divide us. Despite our differences (or maybe even because of them), each of us has the power to contribute something essential, unique, and beautiful to our own community.