As an art student at UNI one of my favorite teachers was Shirley Haupt. She ultimately became my advisor and was the reason I finally graduated in 1974. Her drawing and painting classes were my favorites. Her instructions went far beyond just stating the facts. She taught me about life. Once, she said that if the world ever came to an end it would probably be on a Sunday afternoon because it was so calm and slow. She also said I would find my “voice” at some point, and it would impact my art work a lot.
Sitting on my chaise lounge during the summer months, I would drift into states of calm and reflection. One day as I looked at the rainbow windsock I had placed on the ceiling above me, I realized I could use it as a metaphor for the gay experiences in my life. Its colors would represent the Biblical story of Noah and the flood and how God placed a rainbow overhead and promised the world would be better. For the LGBTQIA+ community it is a reminder of this pledge, and a way of seeking our path to justice and peace in this new world where God is still speaking.
Nearly 20 years ago Plymouth Gallery allowed me to show 15 pieces in watercolor that helped describe the gay experience. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Plymouth has been so important in offering me sanctuary, worship opportunities, and the chance to engage with thinking people around Des Moines and the world. This gallery continues to be a place of wonder, education, and peace for me.
This new series is made from my most recent thoughts about the gay experience and is mostly done with acrylic paint on canvas. I think I have found my vision and my voice. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find your way. Open and affirming love and God are part of it all now.
How can you see this exhibit?
Stop by Plymouth and see Rick Miller’s beautiful art series. You can do so on Sunday mornings when the church is open for worship from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can also stop by Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. No appointment is necessary. to see the exhibit Park on the 42nd Street Circle Drive and ring the doorbell. A volunteer or staff member will meet you at the door to let you in. This series will remain in the gallery through the end of June.