Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let Us Not Lose Heart

I stumbled upon Sister Corita Kent, a serigraph maker and one-time head of the Art Department at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles because I subscribe to Brain Pickings by Maria Popova.

Though I have a Master of Fine Arts, I had never heard of her.  However, she was so influential in the art world that there exists now the Corita Art Center in LA.  There her work is characterized as follows:
 "Corita's art reflects her spirituality, her commitment to social justice, her hope for peace, and her delight in the world that takes place all around us."
She achieved both critical and commercial success.  For example, her  work was exhibited in 2012 in the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  Also, in 1985 she designed the famous Love stamp for the U.S. Post Office that sold over 700 million.

It's telling to know her eventual success and be able to look back on her beliefs.  She published a set of rules for a project in 1967-68 called "The Immaculate College Art Department Rules" (below) that seem useful both in arts and non-arts related professions such as high-tech, manufacturing, start-ups, etc.

For example, look at her rule #7:
The only rule is work.  If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.
This rule is applicable whether you are making a print, teaching a class or leading a company.  There is something to doing all you can do. The funny thing is that this rule closely parallels Galatians 6:9:
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary.
This parallel is not a surprise if you think about the fact that Sister Corita Kent was a nun.  Here is the complete set of her rules:

I find it encouraging that someone with these beliefs achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success in her chosen field. I hope you enjoy and find some measure of inspiration and encouragement as well from her words.  ~ Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson