Finding Art in All Things


“When I emerge from an art gallery or a museum, Eric Copage writes in The New York Times, “the world around me looks different.” It’s this shift in perspective that leads him to assemble a compelling photo-essay, “Hidden Art: A Rhapsody for the Soul, in 10 City Corners,” of 10 hidden (and some not so hidden) gems of New York City’s public art.

From tiny clay sculptures perched on windowsills and soundscapes hidden under grates to realistic glass eyes peering out from trees and animation created by the movement of a subway car’s windows through a tunnel, it’s clear that the city is a playground for artists’ imaginations.

It’s also a playground for viewers of that art, which is to say, anyone who is paying attention. “I love walking in New York,” Copage says, “because it encourages me to startle myself.”

In the Ignatian tradition, we learn to seek and find God in all things. But if we take the time to gaze upon, well, anything, with thoughtfulness, we will find art there, too.

The public art featured in this photo-essay was created over many decades by a diverse lineup of artists, but the things we see in our day-to-day lives need not be official works of art in order to move us, to draw us into contemplation and creativity.

Try opening yourself up to being startled by your surroundings. What would you include in your own Baedeker guidebook of art in your city, on your street, in your home?

Photo: Subway Map Floating on a NYC Sidewalk, Adam Fagan

Contributed by:

Cameron Bellm is a Seattle-based writer and retreat leader, whose work has been featured in America Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, Red Letter Christians and Catholic Women Preach.