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the Covenant experience narrative

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Art Capstone Series: Hitchhiking

Growing up, Zoe Spears ’22 didn’t really know where to call home. She moved around a lot, so answering the question, “Where are you from?” was complicated. Home felt like many different places. As a result of this, her art capstone is shaped and inspired in part by art and artists who talk about places. 
For her capstone, Zoe is creating a series of small, five-by-five watercolor paintings. It is an intentionally slow-going project, one meant to be meditative and repetitive, that began with a list of all the important people in Zoe’s life. One at a time, at random moments in time, she will call one of the people on the list and ask them to describe where they are. As she listens to them, she brings the moment to life in a painting. As a whole, the images represent the community she is a part of. 
Zoe has always loved art. In high school, she was drawn to art and art history, but towards the beginning of her junior and senior years, she realized she might need to pursue something more practical. 
“It’s that common thing…starving artist, this isn’t going to be sustainable,” she said. 
However, through a conversation with her mom, she realized it isn’t a disappointing thing to love art and want to glorify God through it. Her senior capstone in high school was about how visual art should be included in corporate worship and when she visited Covenant she fell in love with the art program, partially because it was a perfect match with her high school capstone. 
She loves how close-knit the art department at Covenant is and that even though it is one of the biggest majors at the college she feels like a part of the community. Along with the importance of place, she wanted to make sure her senior capstone centered around other people in her community. 
“I didn’t want this to be a self-realized thing. I needed to rely on other people to get it done. I wanted it to be a really slow, laborious process to engage my own body with the work… It became like a meditative liturgical thing that I did every day,” she said. 
Sometimes, the slowness of the process proved to be difficult. Zoe said she wanted to spend time with it every day, but keeping away distractions wasn’t easy. Time management became a real issue, and as a slow worker and detail-oriented person, it was harder to take her time on things. She struggled to give herself the grace to spend the needed time on each painting. 
Still, the process is rewarding. Zoe has already been able to show a few of her friends the paintings she made for the moments they describe, and she said the opportunity to see them imagine it is exciting. 
“That was my goal, that people can get excited… that the specific mundane place that they were is worthy to be an artwork,” she said. 
For art students approaching their senior capstone, Zoe encourages this feeling of excitement about the work. She said to make sure your project is something you can find joy in, not just because it is being presented to other people, but because it is a project that you care about as an individual. 
This article originally appeared in the April 7, 2022 issue of The Bagpipe. Zoe’s art show took place on April 20.

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