How sacrilegious is it to create art, preservation, and community? This is an investigation into what people are saying.
The Church of Santa Barbara was an emblem of the community from the time it was built in 1912. It was built by a local architect, Manuel del Busto, in Llanera, Spain. Years later though, it lay in post-war-grade ruin. But the community stepped in and with the help of crowdfunding and sponsorship, they were able to rejuvenate it. A half-pipe was installed for the local skating community. The best part was the commission for Okuda San Miguel to paint the ceiling with brightly colored themes of community and nature. Again the neighborhood church was a vibrant meeting place.
But community-building isn’t enough for people. With social blessings like space for youth to congregate will surely elicit naysayers. Some say that Okuda San Miguel desecrated it. They say that the church should have still been used for something religious and more meaningful. However, most are saying that the church is now a work of meaningful art from the Surrealismo Pop movement, it was saved, and it enriched the community. Even though some say the church is sacrilegious, most are in agreement that the revamping of the church was a positive undertaking.
Enemies of the idea are saying that the church is inappropriate because it is not how it was originally designed and services fewer people. A commenter on Reddit says:
…A church should be reused for something with similar public significance. Since ecclesial architecture elicits the numinous, maybe a gallery or library or theatre/opera house. The arts are in the business of meaning. Skateboarding is a fun pastime and maybe meaningful to some but is also somewhat niche.” – morpheusx66
Apparently, galleries, libraries, and opera houses elicit the ecclesial. And these all always have the same style of architecture. Morpheusx66 is probably saying that a dilapidated church should be reused for something similar. But what constitutes as similar? Maybe morpheausx66 thinks that the mentioned monuments are holier and more related to churches than some might assume.
But how holy and important is skateboarding? Are skaters not worthy of something meaningful? Some, like morpheusx66, are arguing that the skating culture and Okuda San Miguel Surrealismo Pop are too niche to be appropriate in an institution like the church. The bad guys say that the church’s original architecture should not be changed for the sake of erecting a place for skaters to congregate that is covered in beautiful Surrealismo Pop by Okuda San Miguel.
Hopefully as much as could be salvaged before being painted was, or sold to help create and maintain the new space. A half pipe is easy to remove and if it is a safe place for the community youth, there is the added bonus of this. There are so many churches going utterly to pot…Absolutely wonderful that the space is being used.” – jeremyhawley
Sorry, Okuda, it’s no Sistine Chapel, but it’s hard to ignore the vibrant meaningful colors and symbols on the ceiling of the new church. Okuda San Miguel, a well-known artist was graciously commissioned to paint a mural on the ceiling depicting images of man and nature. It is a fitting subject for the relationship between people and the retired and revived church. Large colorful geometric swaths of color float around like diamonds before they meet the glistening starry night high above the skaters. Images of plants and animals dance around and lead the viewers’ eyes swiftly around this Surrealismo Pop. It may be disliked by many but the quality, craftsmanship, and themes are perfect!
Those worried about their churches… and libraries or whatever being demolished should be grateful the church still stands. The skaters and Okuda San Miguel were the guardian angels of the church. It was saved from demolition. Like the protective angels of the previous occupants, the new ones have taken even better care of their new home and saved it from destruction. The church lives on and that should be enough for the people who actually care about its longevity.
The church is still serving patrons. In fact, it’s still serving a relatively large part of its community. A makeover doesn’t change the person underneath it. The church is a blessing of unity and dialogue between its members no matter what it looks like. Makeup doesn’t change what’s underneath, nor does the paint from a beautiful mural. That ceiling painting by Okuda San Miguel is a symbol of the community it serves. Revamping the church with Surrealism Pop saved it from destruction. But most of all youth, skaters, and their peers all have a safe place to congregate and converse. This is Contemporary art serving society at its best.
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