About two dozen red cushions sat conspicuously in various locations across the Trinity campus, punctuating a gray landscape as spring labored to draw its own color over winter. Cushions had been placed on outdoor benches and stairways and inside classroom and administrative buildings with these instructions:
The vicinity of this cushion has been designated as a SACRED SPACE
by a member of the Trinity Christian College Community.Please relocate the cushion to a new space anywhere on campus that
is special to you as a place you spend time with others or by yourself. Someone else will recognize your “Sacred Space” and continue the process.
The campus-wide participatory art installation was the work of Trinity senior Jennifer Romaniszak of Palatine, Illinois.
“The purpose of Sacred Spaces,” said the studio art major, “is to recognize the importance of everyday spaces at Trinity Christian College in the development of community and faith through both fellowship and private meditation.”
Through the mobility of the installation, students, faculty and staff were made aware of places on campus that were special to unidentified others. They were then encouraged to move these ‘signposts’ to areas holding individual meaning for them.
Professors and students, invited to contribute journal entries to Romaniszak’s Web site, named places such as the Trinity Trail and the art barn as their sacred spaces.
For Branden Johnson ’07 of Crestwood, Illinois, the bottom of the stairs in the West Hall basement holds special meaning; it was the place he first met the woman he would later marry.
The artist explained how spaces become meaningful when they are accompanied by a personal narrative.
“My desire to capture others’ experiences in the community is a combination of my impulses to know their stories and to tell my own.”
Part of the impetus for the project is Romaniszak’s journey to understand her place as a Polish Roman Catholic in what she thought was a predominantly Dutch and Reformed community. As she grappled with questions, she said she was “continually surprised” when she experienced fellowship in unexpected places. Romaniszak said that being at Trinity has reinforced her desire to be herself, the person God has designed her to be.
“The greatest realization,” she said, “is the importance of belonging to a community while maintaining awareness of one’s individuality and the process of brining those two goals into communion.”
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