Triumph over tragedy
In the simplest of terms, it is said that art is a form of expression. Never was this more true than during a recent tour at Artpace.
We awaited their arrival with anticipation, as always excited to greet our new visitors, but there was something different about this particular tour: The Texas Organ Sharing Alliance is a dynamic group of people coming to us with a personal history of loss and generosity. These two things don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but these families found a way to triumph over tragedy and help to make heroes of loved ones.
The tour itself started off like all others, with a brief introduction to the culture of Artpace, but the energy with this group was much different. We toured through the spaces then returned to the Student Studio for art making—everyone full of wonder at the concepts discussed as we went behind-the-scenes of our International Artist-in-Residence program. As the Educators led a discussion to re-cap the tour and to lead in to our project, we talked about why and how art is made and by whom. Whether it is a tribute, a way to honor someone, some place, or something, an aesthetically pleasing portrait or a landscape, or even a way to remember or a way to forget, art and its storytelling can be cathartic on so many levels. As we divvied up the materials and began our process, our guests began to open up to us and share the stories of those that interlocked this group.
I heard about David, who was returning home from a movie when his car was struck by a drunk driver. He was placed on life support. Ravaged by grief, his mother was unable to make the decision David’s brothers were: Knowing David would have taken any opportunity to help others, they decided to donate his organs to save the lives of strangers. David—brother, grandson, nephew, and most cherished child—would live on through this final act of generosity. The artwork the family created was somewhat abstract, but upon closer inspection it expressed what will never change for them… it simply said “I love you David.”
Becca Najera, Artpace Associate Educator