Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Just a Story

     As he made his way around the corner, Paul reached into his pocket for spare change to drop into the paper cup of the beckoning street person.  Where the money went, Paul did not care; he was happy to help someone less fortunate.
     Paul was a contributing artist at an odd but well respected gallery in the City.  People often viewed his video/CD-based installations with wonderment and invariably walked away feeling inspired, hopeful, and reaffirmed.  A former teacher of 16 years, Paul developed a sense of what made up a good child.  Over those years he came to appreciate the characteristics in a child that caused him to stay in the classroom as long as he did.  Kind, hard working, thoughtful of the needs of others, and honest described the child he envisioned as the perfect child.  Paul felt obliged to help parents see this in their children.
     When his wife passed away and he had to raise his own two children by himself, he struggled to find ways to make ends meet financially and at the same time hold his own son and daughter to the values about children in which he believed so passionately.  Medical insurance held him to teaching, but financial necessity forced him to explore other avenues.  Technology, art, and part-time working opportunities lead him to work evenings at a small art gallery.  The hours were flexible, the owner loved his children, and a creative side of Paul emerged quite unexpectedly.  Here is where he began to develop his love of art and incorporate his appreciation of good child qualities and a desire to help parents see how beautiful children can be if nurtured and taught with love, care, and structure. 
     During ensuing years, his art, which was presented in sound, video, and still images, depicted children extending themselves in ways that captured the viewer – ways that told the story of just how beautiful children are.  Paul’s exhibits were especially appreciated by parents who were in the throes of a particularly difficult time with their children.  Repeatedly, Paul’s patrons were captured by the beauty children exhibit in their innocence juxtaposed to their desire to imitate their parents.  The power held by parents over children was readily seen in an image of a child’s eyes looking for approval, or a questioning voice looking for an answer, or a joyful smile offering love.
     It was no surprise when one evening as he was exiting the gallery, Paul noticed a young girl holding the hand of a lost soul who was sitting on a shiny brass standpipe.  How proud Paul beamed to eventually see that it was his daughter who was giving comfort to the stranger.

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