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Love Astounding   Anne Wetzel, Curator    presented June 19, 2006



Tulips are People Too

by Jerome Lawrence
(Painting, 2005, 48” x 36")
The Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter - Atlanta, GA


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.
Jerome Lawrence


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2006 The Episcopal Church and Visual Art