Artist Gene Schmidt begs the question: "Who is my neighbor?"
The well-known words on love in First Corinthians 13 are spelled out one letter at a time, in the Museum and in seven other locations on the Wheaton College campus.
In 2010, visual artist Gene Schmidt embarked on a journey using Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, as his canvas. The full text of the Apostle Paul’s “love chapter” was made from panels of scrap wood and laid out against buildings and along sidewalks. With the negative space of the cut-out letters, the city itself became part of the colorful presentation of wooden boards. Covering a six-mile route, he laid the first phrase at a chain-link fence in North Philly. Over twelve days of installation, the journey ended at Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture at the University of Pennsylvania. As an artistic collaboration with professional photographer Alicia Hansen, the project was documented visually, telling the story of the people and neighborhoods of the city as the text passed through.
BGC Museum Exhibit: LOVETOWN, PA
The Museum installation of LOVETOWN, PA is the first time the entire text has been displayed all at once and also includes forty of Hansen’s photographs. The exhibit and its other local manifestations reflect the collaboration of the Museum with Wheaton College students and employees, along with neighbors of nearby communities.
The biblical words about love are compelling as a text. The artwork is stirring as a context of community. The exhibit itself becomes a walking prayer from building to building.
The LOVETOWN, PA art exhibit is made possible through the generous gifts of our sponsors.
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Gene Schmidt is a visual artist living in New York City. He describes the foundation of his artistic practice in two simple sentences: “My father was a preacher and a carpenter. He put thoughts of God in my head and tools in my hands.” Most of Mr. Schmidt’s work over the years has been sculpture, but more recently his sculpture has become an element in larger projects he likes to think of as urban pilgrimages. He holds an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a bachelor's degree from Grace University in Omaha.
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Alicia Hansen is a professional photographer who specializes in commercial branding through visual storytelling. Outside of her New-York-City studio, she also founded and now directs NYC SALT, a nonprofit program for underprivileged teens to learn the craft and business of digital photography. Ms. Hansen’s career began in photojournalism with the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Fortune Magazine, and the Seattle Times. She worked as Joe McNally's first assistant for two years, producing The Faces of Ground Zero, a giant polaroid project of the heroes of 9/11. She holds an M.A. at Syracuse University in Visual Communication.
Photos by Alicia Hansen. All rights reserved.