Co-directors Associate Conni Dubick, OPA, and I are always looking for ways to show the diverse and creative ways our Associates preach with their lives, their work and their art. So I was glad when Associate Marybeth Irvine, OPA, Associates Council member from Kentucky, recently emailed us to share how our Dominican Associates were very visible in the inauguration event celebrating the installation of Dr. Cindy Gnadinger as St. Catharine College’s Eighth President on October 23, 2015. Associate Rosie Blackburn, OPA, was present in cap and gown as a Board member, as were Associates Matt Branstetter, OPA, and Associate Candidates Tara Tuttle and Bettye Brookfield – professors and instructors at St. Catharine’s. And then Marybeth wrote:
“The banner Betty did is spectacular, the photo does not do it justice…blog potential, Betty’s reflection on her creation…it was incredible to hear her share about it…Dominican spirit of mission at its finest. The banner started as an illustration for the original piano composition that a faculty member wrote for the occasion and grew to a 4×12 foot banner created in the space of a weekend. She was touched to see the koru that appeared on her missioning card had also found its way into her art.”
Upon reading this, I was eager to see the banner so I asked Bettye if she could send pictures and a short write up about it, which she gladly did. The following is her description of the tapestry “Wellspring.”
“This tapestry by Bettye Brookfield, MFA, resident faculty artist and instructor, was presented in honor of the Installation of Dr. Cindy Gnadinger as St. Catharine College’s 8th President, October 23, 2015. Responding to Teresa Tedder’s musical composition, “Wellspring of Promise,” resident faculty artist and instructor Bettye Brookfield, created this tapestry incorporating some of the history of the Dominican Sisters’ journey on this site.
The tapestry measures 4 feet by 13 feet of raw canvas, cut out and primed with gesso, leaving it in a rough texture. Organic in nature, beginning at the top with the ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ on the left. Below is lavender Appalachian Mountains with melting snow that follows a tributary in an s-curve toward the bottom of the canvas, similar to the trail taken by our own immigrant ancestors. On the right hand side is a sliver of silver moon above the legendary harp purchased by the Sisters after the devastating fire of 1904, testament to their dedication to the importance of the arts. Silver notes below the harp, four measures of the musical score, is the intro to Ms.Tedder’s composition. Two doves of Peace in flight flank the edges of the canvas. The wellspring at the bottom takes on repeated serpentine and spiraling imagery reaching upward, surrounded by ferns and a row of jonquils, the symbol for rebirth in a fertile valley.
For almost 200 years, the Dominican Sisters have cared for this land, our common home, and the surrounding community. Serving as nurses through the Civil War, Cholera and Yellow Fever epidemics, and nurturing the young people with education and cultural refinement through the arts, their legacy continues in the heart of St. Catharine College.
Seem more photos here.