By Rev. Elaine Blanchard
Caritas Village was born from inspiration and has developed as a creative and deeply Christian process. Onie Johns received a call from all that is good and she was blessed with a vision. She saw a safe place where diverse people can come together, build trust and enter into creative projects that will connect us and give all people a chance to dream dreams and see visions of a better and brighter world. She, along with a host of contributors who have been infected by her dedication and faith, sustains the ministries of Caritas.
A mural has recently been installed on the outside wall of Caritas Village. Three separate panels, the mural was commissioned by the CHOICE: Life Over AIDS Team. Three local artists created their own expressions of the experience of living with HIV and AIDS. Their work illustrates the needs of infected individuals and the healing power of a caring community. Carl Moore, Jamin Carter and Frank D. Robinson, Jr. unveiled their work on September 17th. The mural is inspiring conversations and raising awareness of the issues involved with HIV and AIDS in the Memphis area.
Local artists submitted original work to an AIDS Awareness Invitation Art Exhibit that is on display inside Caritas Village. That exhibit opened on October 1. A juried exhibit, the winners are:
- First Place ($500) Marcellous Lovelace, "Falling Forever", (pictured above)
- Second Place ($300) Leandra Urrutia, "Red Cross"
- Honorable Mention ($100) Ron Herd, "The Legends Of The Fall: My Uncle Arthur The Martyr"
- Honorable Mention ($100) Derrick Dent, "one in sixteen"
The entire exhibit, along with information about the artists, will soon be posted on the http://mychoicelifeoveraids.org site for viewing.
Caritas is a place where the creative process keeps moving, where relationships are developed, conversation is encouraged and curiosity is highly valued. Every person has a sacred story to tell, a work of art to be shared, a song to be sung and a dance to twist and twirl us into a more compassionate community. The mural and the current art exhibit at Caritas are designed to give birth to new vision and hope. Stop by the village (2509 Harvard Ave. 38112) and meet Onie Johns. Eat lunch with a friend. Give your heart and mind a chance to grow. Be inspired by the art. Learn to ask questions. Learn more about HIV: how to prevent its spread, how the illness is treated and where you can be tested for the HIV virus. Learn to choose life over AIDS. Learn how you can be part of a healing and healthy creative community.