Artists create pieces showcasing moments of hope

Art brings people together.

This is the premise behind the art exhibit “Puentes de Compasión: Reaching for Hope,” opening Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Norbertine Community of Santa María de la Vid Abbey.

“I believe this show is particularly pertinent this year as our world and community seems to be increasingly divisive and polarized,” says Rev. Graham Golden, O. Praem. “It seems that, more than ever, there is a need to find new ways to come together … and find hope in a future marked by unity and not discord. The arts offer a lens to see and imagine the world in new ways that can open our minds and our hearts to begin to live in ways we have not before encountered.”

This year’s event will feature fiber art, wood carving, straw appliqué, painting and photography, musical performances, spoken word, some works by refugees.

The youngest submission is from a 4-year-old, the oldest is nearly 80.

One of the artists is Jennifer Murphy-Dye, who created the quilt “We Are God’s Hands.”

Murphy-Dye has been quilting for 30 years. She balances her time between quilting, family life, volunteering and teaching at Holy Ghost Catholic School.

Murphy-Dye says the quilt was inspired by what’s happening in the world today.

“Christianity, along with every major religion, calls us to love and to have compassion for our neighbors, especially those who are ‘strangers in a strange land,’ ” Murphy-Dye says. “Many immigrants have come to the United States seeking asylum because of desperate circumstances in their native countries: war, gang violence, political upheaval. Others have come in search of a better life in the face of economic or environmental devastation. … Until recently, our country had a history of welcoming immigrants who, in turn, used their gifts and labor to build up America. It’s up to us, as faithful followers, to reclaim this radical welcome and embody compassion.”

The quilt is constructed with cotton fabrics and captures the idea of building a bridge of compassion.

“I didn’t know if I should submit the quilt,” she says. “Then I realized that it’s a work of art and tells a story. It’s important to keep talking about this issue and welcome new people into our community.”

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