New Temple in Plano Texas Receives Ecumenical Welcome Art Work:
Plano is home to a new congregation of Jews. The temple, Nishmat Am is located on the same block as a Mosque and across the street from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church at the northwest corner of Custer and Independence. The Mosque and the Church already have a history of mutual congeniality. It is a pleasure to be able to welcome this Temple to the neighborhood. The close proximity of these three houses of worship is an example of the multiethnic and inter-religious nature of the people of Plano. Plano is home to people from over fifty nations bringing their diverse cultures. Plano celebrates this diversity each winter with a huge multicultural celebration held on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, in downtown Plano, as well as celebrations at various times throughout the year in the Plano Independent School District.
It is in this tradition that the temple of Nishmat Am is going to be receiving a visit from a very special “Welcome Wagon”. The ten North Texas artists known as “Just Art”, happen to work right across the street at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Faith Formation Center. Just Art artists decided to welcome the newcomers in the same spirit they were welcomed when they came to Plano to work. They have been guests of the Catholic church on two Saturdays a month for the past three years.
“Just Art” is a group of ten area artists from very diverse ethnic and religious traditions. They have members that are Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Methodists and Agnostics. They have roots in Israel, India, Columbia, Italy, New York, Utah, Wisconsin and Texas to name just a few places. They work together in harmony, while making the most of their differences to enhance their shared goals. Their works are parts of many national, and international, private and civic collections. They have also launched a new web gallery where more of their work can be seen at http://just-art.org
Just Art artists will be gifting Temple Nishmat Am a multi paneled work of art that shows their varied visions and techniques, expressing a single theme. This artwork centers on lighting the “Shabbat” candles- the ceremonial that takes place every Friday night in Jewish homes all over the world. Shabbat, the Hebrew word for Satuday, the day of rest is an _expression of unity, family, tradition, honor, and respect for ones faith and forefathers. The work of art celebrates this tradition with images common to the ceremonial Friday night meal. The artists chose candles, Challah bread and a wine goblet to express their understanding and respect of the traditions of Shabbat.
The style of each of these fifteen 12” x 12” canvases is as varied as the artists that created them. The art works range from classically representational art to abstract paintings. The small artworks are made using oil or acrylic paints. The canvases, while all are the same 12’ by 12” dimensions, vary from 1 inch to 2 1/2“ in depth giving the art work a more three dimensional look. The fifteen canvases will be bolted together to form an overall abstract form as they spread across the wall at the Temple.
Just Art will present the work to Rabbi Cohen and members of the congregation. The artists will be present to discuss their art work at the reception.
Trish Gulino, Plano Texas Artist