There’s a new stop on the Final Friday gallery crawl that invites the community to consider the influence of faith in art.
Inter-Faith Ministries has launched a renovated gallery space that leaders of the organization hope will bring in more people from the community. Friday night, the Cultural Arts Faith Exploration (C.A.F.E.) Gallery will host works from members of Pine Valley Christian Church. It’s part of a renewed effort to showcase the creative talents of faith organizations and congregations across the city.
“I wanted us to be part of the cultural scene in a way that makes sense for us,” said Anne Corriston, Inter-Faith Ministries’ executive director. “We are happy to be at the intersection of art and faith. This lets the faith community bring their artwork outside of their churches and into the larger community. It’s a win for everyone.”
This will be the second month that Inter-Faith has hosted a Final Friday. It’s a project that will continue throughout the year thanks to a dedicated volunteer. Earlene Condiff said she likes a challenge, and this past winter she took on the task of reconditioning one of the organization’s large conference rooms to be a permanent gallery. Though it has hosted art shows and works in the past, Inter-Faith hasn’t had a regular, organized gallery. Condiff is now the volunteer gallery director, working to book monthly shows and prepare the space.
“It’s been fun and very rewarding to put this together. I like to give back to the community,” Condiff said. “Art and faith have always been closely related. What you have inside your spirit and what guides you comes out, and that’s what’s on the canvasses in this gallery.”
Condiff explained that her vision for the gallery is to highlight different faith groups and gain more exposure to the richness and diversity of faith within Wichita. Each month, a different faith-based organization or religious congregation will host the show and bring a full array of entertainment. The work will hang in the conference room throughout the month, something Corriston said will be an added benefit for the numerous groups who use the room.
This month, eight artists from Pine Valley Christian Church will be exhibiting works that span the mediums of oil paintings, watercolors, quilts, liturgical banners, pottery, jewelry and more. Harriett McGuire has several autumn-themed pastel and watercolor works, including a bright red farmhouse surrounded by bales of wheat. Diane Miller has a large, colorful and geometrically varied quilt titled “Yardbirds Round the Cat.” Rev. Robin McGonigle, Pine Valley’s pastor, has contributed cross-stitches, quilts and ceramics. One of her works is a banner called “Holy Spirit Come” that showcases a dove hovering above a peaceful sea of blue, green and purple shades.
While art is the focus, there will be other aspects to the evening.
“Every group who shows provides not only all of the art, but also music and church lady finger food,” Condiff said. “This month, we’ve got the band Epiphany playing, and we’re really excited to have them.”
McGonigle said her congregation was eager to be part of the event because the members support Inter-Faith’s mission and believe that answers to issues like hunger, homelessness and ministry to the poor are best answered by interfaith efforts to alleviate suffering. She also said it would be a fun way to engage artistically talented members of her congregation by having them show off their own art. For her, art is both personal and healing.
“Ministry is an arduous task. It takes deep spirit and sound mind,” she said. “Art is a relaxing activity that soothes my soul and restores rhythm to my spirit. I want the guests at Final Friday to sense the creativity of our congregation …and to see into the depths of our imagination into a world of peace, justice and tranquility.”