Friday, May 08, 2009

Art Walking Flint

Walking into St. Paul's Episcopal Church tonight, I felt like Flint was a real town for once. It was the monthly art walk, and like last night, this was a blessed, lovely May evening. At the church's big door, a friendly guy hailed people in, eager to show off the church's Tiffany stained glass window, which is indeed breathtaking. The gentleman gave everybody a little handout, delightful reading, with words that vibrate my childhood memories: narthex, transept, reredos, font...I love that sanctuary sensually without regard to dogma because of its colors and shape and art, including floor tiles in the chancel made by Albert Champion at Flint Faience Tiles in the 1880s -- the same company, artistically spun off using the same materials as spark plugs, that made the tiles in my own bathrooms.

It was my friend, the multi-talented Grayce, who got me to step away from lingering reclusiveness again tonight (two nights in a row...this is big), and I wanted to go because she was showing her porcelain fish in St. Paul's parlor. ( I like the idea of art in church parlors, too -- better than in my day, when the evangelicals of my childhood objected to decoration in a sanctuary as if the spectrum itself was somehow ungodly. Who were these people, so frightened of pleasure?? ) Grayce in her red sweater greeted visitors with the verve of a woman 30 years younger -- maybe it's art and poetry that keep her vibrant -- that and her Ohio pedigree.

Out on Saginaw Street there actually were people: a blend of young and old, many children, even music in front of Flint City T-Shirts, where I bought two shirts, one a muscle shirt that amusingly claims "Flint: The toughest town around since 1855" and another one, old postcard style, that says "Greetings from Flint Michigan!" Art students from Davison High School were showing their work at the T-Shirt shop, and a couple of kids sang and plunked on a keyboard and electric, um, ukelele, I think? It was sweet to see all the kids, hanging out in their bohemian garb, lounging on benches, having a little downtown adventure. Down the block, a couple kissed and nuzzled between venues: he in a beret, she in black hair with bangs. Is this Paris, for gawd's sake? Before I knew it I caught myself stopping to stare and smile, wanting to congratulate them, and then I realized I knew them. So glad to know the cosmo couple kissing on the street.

As I say, just like a real town. It felt good.


Sara said...

There are evenings that this native Chicagoan just loves--LOVES--Michigan. Tonight was one of them. Reading this makes me feel like I'm not alone.

There IS something about the underdog, I guess.

Macy Swain said...

Yes indeed. Though I gotta say, Chicago, now THAT's a real town. I bet you miss it.