Sacred Spaces | Cultivating Hope Project Update
Here is a little bit of background behind my paintings and this project. I call my paintings Sacred Spaces because they are imagined environments of escape from reality. In the beginning these spaces were metaphors to where I imagined going if I committed suicide. After years of therapy I realized that the meaning behind my paintings didn’t have to be dark, so I began to see them as spaces of reprieve not only for me but for others as well. I intend to nurture a sense of hope with my paintings through bright colors and inviting atmospheres.
In February of 2020 I had plans for this project to be in the form of an exhibition of my paintings that would be installed in a psychiatric treatment facility, but because of COVID I have had to re-think and re-develop my idea. Over the last year I have been researching and practicing the act of earthing (also known as grounding), which refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outdoors. In the warmer months I gardened a lot and spent time outdoors connecting to nature.
Since then, plans have morphed and changed into an outdoor installation at the Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park, which is in Kansas City, Missouri. As park visitors walk their lush nature trails, I want them to see this installation and take a moment to pause. The purpose of my installation is to remind people to stop, breathe, and reconnect with nature.
The installation will be a largescale mural installed into the ground at the Lakeside Nature Center’s upper loop gravel trail. While I visited, I was able to walk the trail with the Director of the Nature Center as she pointed out potential spots for the installation.
I decided on a shady spot nestled into some trees and bushes. This was one of the only open spots with a bench nearby, which I thought would be a great place for walkers and hikers to sit and be able to take a moment of rest in front of my mural. As they’re surrounded by nature, I want to invoke peace and solitude through my painting. It’s a moment of their day where they can rest, breathe, and reflect as they connect to the space around them.
I have hired Kevin from Smiley Fine Art to build the panels for the installation, which should be completed by mid-March. Kevin is building these wooden panels to include earth anchors on the bottom so we can literally ground them into the earth. Each panel is 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. One of the challenges we may face with installation is the fact that the Lakeside Nature Center sits on ground that is rich with limestone which may be an issue, but we will solve that when we get there!
The panels arrived on March 1st and are ready to gesso and paint! Between March and June I will be applying for grants, such as the Inspiration Grant, and finding funds for the project. March through June will also be my time to paint the canvases and weatherproof them. I hope to install at the Lakeside Nature Center in July. After that I just need to spread the word for people to come see it! The installation will most likely only be up for four weeks.
To stay updated on my installation project you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram @amaranthineartist.