Strange how a lantern can appear out of nowhere. Walking barren tracks, and suddenly there’s a light in your hand. Sincerely Danielle Shunk (SDS) plunked into my grasp like that.
A friend knew a friend, who told her about SDS, who told me. I stepped foot in that magic space and before I knew it, Danielle invited Pamba Toto to join the shop’s inventory, commission-free.
Then, before I could blink, Danielle asked me to hang my art amidst the visual celebration.
Being an artist can be lonely. Long hours in the company of paint, brushes, and taunting blank white pages. A rambling, ill-defined path shadowed by failure and rejection. Just think of poor Van Gogh, dead, without any idea during his lifetime that we would gaze in awe, more than a century later, at “Starry Night.” The very nature of creativity ensures that every path will be unique, there are no tests for suitability like a CPA exam, and few concrete measurements of success.
I often feel the loneliness and uncertainty. I ask the Guide repeatedly, “Are you sure I’m on the right path?”
SDS meant far more to me than a brick-and-mortar place to sell art. In fact, that motive hardly makes the list, it so pales in comparison. Danielle described her vision for SDS: Create something or somewhere where creative women can get together, motivate, inspire and appreciate one another. Build relationships that are strong and loving. Have a place that makes you feel welcome, happy, and proud to say you helped build.
SDS became the cradle for a dream come true last summer when Danielle hosted a silent auction fundraiser for Sanctuary of Hope (SoH) in the parking lot. We hung a tent gallery, where art and social justice merged in a riot of brilliant colors. The art, created by the SoH children, sold to raise money for the homes and also inspired the Shine Like Stars gallery.
But just as suddenly as the lamp was thrust in my hands, it snuffed out. Unexpected circumstances necessitate that Danielle close SDS this week, at least in its current location (she plans to open a small studio – you can follow Sincerely Danielle Shunk on Facebook to discover her new plans).
Strange how I didn’t even know what I was starving for until I tasted it.
Strange how empty my hand feels now.
Strange how my hope swells.
I’m thinking about the One who creates rivers on bare heights, springs of water in dry land. I think He is too kind to awaken these desires without intention to provide.
This path of “being an artist” is a blind walk. I’ve never had to trust the Guide more. But when I close my eyes, I can almost see His face (if God were to have a face), smiling, anticipating my childlike delight in the surprises ahead.
Special thanks to Danielle for a magic opportunity.