By Alyssa Ilaria
Since the beginning of time, humans have used art to express their emotions, tell stories and have an outlet for creativity. Art has many forms – music, sculptures, paintings, and much more.
Not only does art have a powerful effect on a global scale, but also on a community level. Riley Cronin and Mira Holifield, juniors at Zionsville Community High School, were commissioned by Jen Matura, religious education coordinator at St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Zionsville, to create a piece of artwork for Weitzel Hall. Weitzel Hall is the religious education building where many parishioners spend time and gather for church activities.
“We were looking for artwork that would complement the vast entry area of Weitzel Hall as well as provide interest to children and adults, alike,” Matura said. “Weitzel Hall is utilized by various age groups. We knew it had to be a unique piece of art to fit our needs.”
Art is a major part of Cronin and Holifield’s lives. They were inspired by a painting Cronin’s mother created in high school. Holifield and Cronin are in art classes together at the high school and love spending their free time making art together.
The process of creating the piece was elaborate and detailed. Cronin and Holifield collected magazine and newspaper articles, books, photographs and advertisements and cut out pieces to form a collage. They included images from St. Alphonsus’ church bulletin and newspapers.
After making the base of the artwork, they sketched Jesus with each one taking half of his visage.
“My favorite thing about this artwork is that it can represent anything you want it to,” Cronin said. “Everyone who views this painting is looking at the same thing, but everyone will see and can interpret something differently. I think painting Jesus in the middle of a collage of things that make up our parish community is a reminder that while we are all different, we are all one in Christ.”
Holifield and Cronin want the artwork inspire other parish youth.
“Our hope is that this inspires other youth members of our parish to share their gifts with our community, just like we have shared our artistic interest,” Holifield said.
Not only were both women proud of all their hard work and creativity, but church leaders were very impressed with the piece they made for the church.
“These young women choose to convey an understanding of community, both local and universal,” said Father Dennis O’Keefe, pastor at St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish. “They selected from different media, that any single one by itself would have little impact, but that together announces our mission and purpose. If a person only glances at the work they might see an eclectic mix. The genius comes from viewing the whole image.”