(Title should read: ‘The Word Image on the Streets’ but I can’t work out how to format it!)
Two fantastic schemes have caught my eye recently – quite literally! The first is called ‘Books Around Town’. All around London are special benches which have been decorated with art inspired by famous literature, anything from Sherlock Holmes to Peter Pan to Paddington Bear and Samuel Pepys Diary. Charlotte and I were in London last Saturday and stumbled across one decorated with characters from Jacqueline Wilson’s books. I’d love to have the chance to wonder around London a bit more looking for some of the others, especially those with Wydham’s Triffids, Hawking’s black hole and Darwin’s tree of life on. (See www.booksabouttown.org.uk for more about the scheme and details of trails around some of the benches.)
The other scheme has been instigated by the Art Fund and others and is called Art Everywhere. There idea is to de-privatise art and get it back out on the streets. The 38,000 members of the public voted choosing their favourite pieces of art, and the 25 pieces with the highest number of votes are being displayed as posters in 30,000 locations around London such as on bus stops and billboards. Keep your eyes open next time you’re in the City as you never know what you might see. (For a sneak preview see arteverywhere.org.uk)
I think both schemes are brilliant and hope that they capture the public’s imagination; that’s certainly the intention of those behind them. It’s got me thinking about the Bible again. Is there some way we can get the Bible out on the street once more? Art has always been a significant way of capturing and provoking the imagination. The Church has always been a part of that until the Protestant Reformation when we discarded it and focussed purely on the written word. Today visual art has never been as popular. Perhaps it’s time for us to reclaim it. Is there some way we can get illustrations or key symbols from classic Bible stories out there to get people re-engaging with them? Or catchphrases? Or something? I remain convinced that Scripture’s stories are as good as any soap opera or classic; there’s something there for every taste and background – if only we could grab their attention first. How about designing a series of illustrated postcards that we put through letterboxes once a week for a month? Or painting a mural on the church face? Or? Or? Suggestions on a hand decorated postcard please, or an illustrated email if you must!