For the past few years, Grace Church has been graced with an art installation in our winter garden – part of the ‘Georgetown Glow’ organized by the business community. ‘Glow’ is a December/January effort – days with those very early nights – and includes ten or so varied installations throughout the neighborhood – the next-closest one clings to the rock walls of the waterless Canal, visible in both directions from the bridge on Wisconsin Ave.
The first such installation that I remember was a huge eye-shaped piece, which by some concealed technological magic somehow interacted with the viewer when the viewer walked by. The details are fuzzy, but I remember it being a little fun, and a little, hmmmm….not so sure I like this being watched by an inanimate object.
Last year’s was very different. A tunnel of sorts, the interior of which contained small triangles of mirrors or some other reflective material. When you walked through it, lights changed colors. Viewers had fun with it, and lingered, and children raced through, but in all, it left me feeling a little let down, as if there was some message or meaning I was supposed to get and didn’t quite.
So this year, right now, planted in our garden, is…a garden! Rows of what look like five-foot tall flowers, on slender stalks, all identical, light white material that blows and bends in the breeze. (So far thankfully no windy days.) When darkness falls, differently colored lights light up the blossoms. It’s quiet, and it’s fragile, and a reminder that not all life and light goes underground during winter.
What’s nicest about all this art, however, is how it brings passersby to our door. Especially on Sunday evenings, before, during and following the 5 p.m. Eucharist, any number of people stop in the church ‘just to see’. Which is at it should be. The glow in our garden, and the light through our doors, quietly proclaims ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’ (John 1:5, NRSV)