Wetzel, Curator presented June 19, 2006
are People Too by Jerome Lawrence
(Painting, 2005, 48” x 36") The Episcopal Church
of the Holy Comforter - Atlanta, GA firstname.lastname@example.org
I studied art at Georgia State University where during
my senior year I developed schizophrenia. While in recovery
years later I happened upon an art class which was sponsored
by The Work of Our Hands and The Georgia Mental Health
Consumer Network. The class was held at The Episcopal
Church of the Holy Comforter.
Working with clay and painting on canvas brought back
the feeling that I could actually be somebody. That I
could possibly support myself doing something I loved.
Like a letter I was enveloped by the love and compassion
of all church parishioners. As I grew in Christ I recovered
quickly. The Episcopal Church and many mental health organizations
collaborated with Habitat for Humanity to build me a home.
Before moving into the home I went into the hospital for
a permanent colostomy operation. While there I received
visits and flowers from church friends and family. When
I saw the white flowers on my window sill against the
brilliant blue sky (the kind of sky you only get during
the summer just after the sun has gone down) they reminded
me of stars and I said to myself, “You gave me the
universe when you gave me flowers.” I felt what
it was like to be a part of a community that thought more
of me than I did at the time. When I got out of the hospital
I couldn’t wait to paint (and I wanted to paint
large) but few people could get canvases to me and certainly
not large ones. Tom Smith from St. Martins in the Field
Church and School got a truck and brought me a large canvas.
I proceeded to paint the picture in my minds eye of white
flowers blending into the stars of a blue sky. I donated
the painting to St. Martins in the Field with the inscription:
You gave me the universe when you gave me flowers.
I am truly blessed.