The “Benediction Project” has come to Winston-Salem. According to the artist, Charlie Brouwer, “the project connects community with people of faith and places of worship through art.” The project began in December 2019 in Virginia’s New River Valley (the artist’s home territory) where in 2020 the sculpture, titled “Benediction”, traveled to 10 places of worship. Participation in the project is free to any place of worship that wants to express, through public art, their desire to be a blessing to the surrounding community. The artist installs the sculpture for 40 days on the grounds of the place of worship where it can be seen by the public – facing out towards the community.
The Benediction Projects is a public art component of “Inside/Outside: Charlie Brouwer” – an exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) scheduled for August 2021 – December 2022. Planning the exhibition has been a collaboration between the artist and Wendy Earle, Curator of Contemporary Art, and it will have a unique format and schedule. Every 40 days for one year, the artist will install outdoor sculptures on SECCA’s grounds and indoor works and installations in spaces through the museum. Starting August 2022, the artist will begin to remove some work each 40 days until the exhibition closes in December 2022.
Brouwer’s reason for 40 day periods is connected with its special significance in sacred Jewish, Islamic, and Christian texts where it stands for “an important or long time” or “the right amount of time.”
The Benediction Project has been seen at the Beloved Community, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Augsburg Lutheran Church, Temple Emmanuel, Community Mosque, First Baptist Church, Burkhead United Methodist Church, and Highland Presbyterian Church. And beginning April 23, it will be located on the grounds of Ardmore Baptist Church.