Laurel heard about the "Beneath the Surface" art show and silent auction through her art classes at North High. The show was to highlight February as teen dating violence awareness and prevention month, and proceeds were to go to the Wichita Sexual Assault Center.
Thankfully, Laurel doesn't have first-hand experience with dating violence, but she decided to create a piece for the show anyway. She sculpted a girl out of clay that she imagined was hurt and vulnerable.
Laurel intended to sell her work, but as the girl's form took shape and made it through the kiln unscathed, she began to reconsider. After adding a finishing glaze, she was thinking she might want to keep her. However, Laurel was hoping that if the piece spoke to someone, they would purchase it. So when she submitted the piece, she marked that the art was available for sale.
She named the piece, "Holding on to You," at the suggestion of her classmates. Someone had created a piece "Tear in my Heart," and another had "Polarized" which were all twenty one pilots songs, so hers made a trifecta.
The show was at the Vertigo 232 Gallery, above Hewitt's Antiques. Laurel was a little disappointed when she visited the show. Instead of her sculpture being displayed with the other artwork, it was grouped with the auction items, meaning it was sharing space with the likes of a Mary Kay basket and a weekend getaway package.
|Laurel Franklin's sculpture "Holding on to You" at the silent auction|
When I got to the show, the bidding had already begun. I upped the bid by $5. The dad of another art student joked that the price would stay there, since people would see that the Mom had put in a bid. He was right. I got a call the next week saying my bid had won. I went downtown to redeem my prize.
When I got home, I tried to find a suitable place to display my art. Just putting her on an end table by my Kleenex box didn't seem quite right.
My coffee table has a glass top, and seeing her suspended in air didn't give the right setting. Plus, she didn't really go with the flower arrangement and candles I had sitting there, and if I cleaned it off, it was too big of an expanse for her anyway.
My marble-topped plant stand that I have in my entryway was the right size, but I didn't think that was the right setting for her either.
Then I tried my wall shelf. On it, I happen to have a wooden cross given to me by my friend Debbie Ford. She gave it to me on a dark day in January when my dad was seriously ill in the hospital. Her dad had made this cross and many like it before his death over a year ago.
When I placed the sculpture on the shelf, everything changed. Suddenly, she was at the foot of the cross. Yes, she was still vulnerable. Yes, her heart still ached. But now, "Holding on to You" didn't seem desolate and futile. Her head was still bowed, not in desperation, but reverence. Now there was hope.
|Laurel Franklin's sculpture "Holding on to You" at the foot of the cross|
"Yes, I love it there. I think it shows hope." I said.
"I agree," she said. "That's what art does. It speaks differently to different people. That's the beauty of it."