Govans Church Park

Submitted by Barry Woods Johnston

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Client: Barry Woods Johnston

Location: Baltimore, USA

Completion date: 2004

Artwork budget: $90,000

Project Team

Artist

Barry Woods Johnston

Landscape Architect

Blair Farrend

Farrend and English

Overview

Healing is a bronze sculpture, commissioned by an anonymous donor member of Govans Presbyterian Church, working with landscape architect, Blair Farrend of Farrend and English, York Road, Baltimore, Maryland, 2004 as part of a small park on the Church grounds. The sculpture was completed before the member donor died of cancer.

Goals

The sculpture serves as a focal element within the larger landscape which includes a labyrinth walk, designed by Blair Farrend to promote healing and holiness. Although I was aware that I had no power of healing myself, it was very important for me to complete the sculpture before the client passed. I sought with these two life-size bronze figures to express the power of mercy, compassion and healing. The healing power of Jesus is shown beckoning a downtrodden to rise to his feet and be whole. It is a story told by Jesus of a Samaritan who gave mercy to a man who had been beaten, robbed and forgotten. The Samaritan stopped and gave the man medical attention and lodged during his recovery.

Process

The collaboration between the sculptor, Barry Woods Johnston, Blair Farrend and the client envisioned faith as a wellspring of healing. As the three of us explored the core vision of the design, we recognized meditation and prayer as being inwardly freeing. We sought to create an experience that would encourage a maturing into deeper and broader wisdom. We wanted to create a space that would encourage a cleansing of the confusion in our lives, where we could reconcile ourselves, and consider our choices within the world about us. We sought an integration that would allow the inner and outer to come together. We wanted the project to reflect the spirit of what was consistent, good, positive and wise. As such, we felt empowered to transform this little piece of terrain into something better. The good and positive distinctions are shaped by our understanding of those deeper principles that define consistent, good, positive and wise values as represented by our limited understanding of a healing God.