I've never told you about my aunt, Sister Judith Stoughton, who ran the art department of a Catholic Women’s college in St Paul Minnesota. Now she was something ... so liberal I’m amazed she allowed a male to say Mass at her funeral.
She was a two-time Fulbright scholar ... once after she turned 50. Absolutely brilliant. Her students have designed churches and religious artwork across many faiths and oceans.
Once Sr Judith told me about one of her nationally recognized former students who was going to quit religious artwork because she was so frustrated at what happened as she was working with churches. She would meet with a committee of the church and gather their ideas and requirements (say for a new altar) and then she’d go to her studio and create something to show the committee.
After presenting her idea to the committee, they would beat the daylights out of her work. She became so despondent she considered changing professions even though she loved religious artwork and, according to Judith, she was extremely talented.
Then, the artist had an idea. The next time she had a commission she created two artifacts to show the church committee. Sure enough they beat the tar out of the first one she showed them. It took about an hour while she calmly sat as they went nutszo. Then she called a coffee break and afterwards presented her second artifact which in turn they bought unanimously within minutes.
That became her modus operandi.
The theory was that the first artifact was like a lightening rod for the committee. It was a way for them to express their spiritual discomfort within themselves and with God as well as frustration with being a member of the church. It wasn’t her artifact. It was much deeper than that.
Once they were able to get their "bad feelings" expressed, they were in a position to appreciate the genius in the art created specifically for them. The second work of art was the one actually designed for them. The first was designed to help them express their personal and organizational frustrations.
To me Sister Judith’s student was an innovator and there may be a lesson there to help the rest of us with our presentations. Jerry
The second comes from Richard Weddle who shared a presentation on "Identity 2.0" which is worth checking out even if only to see the presentation style. It's interesting stuff even if it does get a bit techie toward the end. Check it out at: http://www.identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/