Today’s the day that the kids come back into the hallways where this mural is evolving. Excited that we got all 10 faces done this summer, my friend Renee and I both turned to worrying out loud that somehow the individual kids who own these faces might be disappointed. A face is a very personal thing. And especially for a child, how they think others perceive them can be a real trip-up. Renee kept fussing over this little girl’s face. It was hard to stop. Not one of the paintings is perfect. Not one of the kids is perfect. Not one of the artists is perfect, Lord knows. We are all a jumble of things. But today they will see what we’ve attempted to do so far with their little twinkly smiles. It’s fixed. And then we will move on with the bigger broader picture.
Maybe (I am thinking to myself now) the big picture is already happening. That’s a hugely freeing thought. We have an active part in all this, but something else originated and will conclude everything that matters here that’s real. On these particular walls that’s my sense of it, and also in my own life. I had little clue when beginning this project. I had little clue when beginning my life. I have only a little more now. If I did not have an out-sized faith: a confidence in something bigger than me, which is worth knowing, I think I would just eat bon-bons, or download Pokemon Go.
This past week I was able to join a workshop conducted by the former director for the Chicago Public Art Group. The man was a lot of fun with a wealth of info. on materials and budgets and effective collaboration. But the best thing he said out loud was that “we have to get uncomfortable, and then examine why we are”. That’s what adults do. That’s what the best working projects expose. I hope the kids looking at their painted faces can have some courage to do the same overlooking. These are only likenesses. There’s more coming.