The city of Sun Prairie launched a public art program called “Sun Prairie is Blooming”. The community art project called on local businesses to sponsor artists as they create public art using cutouts in the shapes flowers provided by the city. Flowers are then revealed to the public during an artist reception and community event, staying on display downtown for one month. The event raises funds for the Sun Prairie Business Improvement District.
As a co-founder of Chesterton Academy - Queen of Martyrs, I thought sponsoring this would be an excellent chance to show support for the community while raising awareness for the school and spreading Christ’s love through beauty. Evangelization is an essential mission of how we can lead others to Christ’s love. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of those who see this bright and spiritual piece nestled among buildings and busy streets in the town square. I hope you enjoy! 💖Ray
Led by the Spirit:
The inspiration for the artwork is timely as the creative process occurred during two holy months - May and June. For centuries, the Church has set aside the entire month of May for Mary. May is the month in which winter springs into bloom, fitting for the art project theme “Sun Prairie is Blooming”. It is a time for new beginnings and a chance to begin with gratitude and devotion. The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in veneration and in gratitude for His merciful heart and His redeeming love for mankind.
So it only seemed fitting that the artwork would depict the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a symbol of her compassion and love for Jesus and all her children. It would perfectly compliment Chesterton Academy - Queen of Martyrs, a high school named after the blessed Virgin Mary.
The traditional symbols of Mary can be seen throughout the piece. The Immaculate Heart's fire signifies the burning love Mary has for God the Father and for her Son. Mary's heart is pierced with a sword to remind us of the sorrows she endured silently in her lifetime as Jesus's mother. Simeon told the Blessed Mother, “a sword will pierce through your own soul” (Luke 2:35). At the tip of the sword, you can see the tears of Mary and the blood of Christ.
A garland of roses surround the heart. Roses have been associated with Mary from early times. The Blessed Virgin Mary is often referred to as the “rose without thorns.” Just as the gentle rose is placed among thorns, so this gentle Virgin was surrounded by sorrow. Mary has also been given the title of “Mystical Rose” as a symbol of the union between Christ and Mary. Through Mary's Immaculate Conception, God set her apart for Himself, as one would cherish the prettiest flower in the garden. Throughout her spiritual suffering, Our Lady remained committed to the humility, obedience, and purity for which we revere her.
Above the roses to the right of the heart is an abstract symbol of a dove to represent peace, purity, hope, and the Holy Spirit. We can be reminded of the fact that the Holy Spirit was the one who placed Jesus in Mary's womb.
Lastly the crown placed upon the heart represents Mary’s queenship as the Queen of Heaven. The crown is highlighted with white, to represent her purity and holiness while the yellow is added for the symbol of light as the sources of goodness and grace. Throughout the piece you’ll see multiples of three for the trinity and multiples of seven for the seven sorrows of Mary.
A purposeful restraint is used in the simplicity of the bold shapes and bright colors reminiscent of the colorful and vibrant Pop Art genre with the use of hard edges and distinct forms, while the design is inspired by Mexican folk art, Milagros.