I was asked to decorate the Metro Baptist Church Sanctuary for the Living Well graduation dinner. The program helps women who are survivors of domestic violence empower themselves in many ways. One of these ways is to tell their story at the graduation. I was thrilled the program coordinator, Michelle Nickens, asked me to help. I know how healing telling your story can be.
When I approach a space for an event I want to create an experience. I have a particular fondness in my heart for the Metro Baptist Church Sanctuary for many reasons, but the main reason is because I am an artist-in-residence there. It is here where I find strength and community to support my work. When I make a dance in this space I see the space as one of the dancers. And I approach it with great honor. I see the events I work on here as an extension of a vibrant spiritual community.
I got up early that day, which happens to be my Mother's birthday, and hit the streets of the Chelsea Flower Market. I had trouble finding the right flower to create a mood. I wanted something soft, fragrant, and delicate. After scouring many stores and stalls I happened upon these peonies. They reminded me of the ones my Mom has had in her yard for over 50 years. (It is my job in the spring to clear the leaves off of them.) I knew these were the ones.
After the table cloths were put on the tables, over 100 votive candles strategically placed, and the last peony dropped into a vase, I surveyed the room and knew the spirit of many strong women would be there that night.
I reflected on my Mother, her strength, her wisdom, and hoped that maybe the soft scents of the peonies might bless the women on their new paths.