New Temple in Plano Texas Receives Ecumenical Welcome Artwork
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 proximity of these three houses of worship is an example of the multi-ethnic and inter-religious nature of Plano’s people. 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 and celebrations at various times throughout the year in the Plano Independent School District.
In this tradition, 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 felt 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.
The Art Organization in Dallas
“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.
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 Saturday, the day of rest, is an expression of unity, family, tradition, honor, and respect for one’s faith and forbears. The work of art celebrates this tradition with images familiar to the ceremonial Friday night meal. The artists chose candles, Challah bread, and a wine goblet to express their understanding and respect for Shabbat’s traditions.
The style of each of these fifteen 12″ x 12″ canvases is as varied as the artists that created them. The artworks range from classically representational art to abstract paintings. The medium used is 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 artwork a more three-dimensional look. The fifteen canvases 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 artwork at the reception.
Trish Gulino, Plano Texas Artist