An art appreciation event was held at Broadview with our guests in attendance on January 28th. It was inspired by the two paintings by Vicci Sperry that hang in the main hallway and were donated by Asher House Los Angeles, an organization offering housing for Christian Science college students and recent graduates who are new to L.A. or studying here. The paintings were moved into the Activity Room for the event and images of some of her other pieces were shown on the big screen.
Vicci Sperry studied with Hans Hoffman, a pivotal figure in Abstract Expressionism, and she and her classmates continued the Abstract Expressionism movement. Her successful career included exhibiting in Paris, New York, and Chicago, where she resided and taught for many years. Besides being an accomplished modern artist, Sperry was also a Christian Scientist, and Christian Science influenced her approach to her work. Her discoveries while teaching resulted in a book, The Art Experience, which is filled with spiritual ideas to help artists “overcome resistances and to free the individual expression.”
Carey James, a member of Twelfth Church of Christ, Scientist in Los Angeles, inspired the presentation. As an artist and art teacher herself, she read Sperry’s book while pursuing her degree in fine art at UCLA. She had admired the two paintings that are now at Broadview when they had hung at Asher House. Carey was able to share insight into the paintings and on aspects of Sperry’s inspiring book. Carey guided us to note the movement and rhythm of the paintings; the choice of colors, the quality of the paint and way it was applied.
Visual artist and teacher Sally Howell, from Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist in Los Angeles, joined Carey in discussing the art and shared personal stories of working closely with Vicci Sperry, both as her student and friend. Both women spoke of their admiration for the freedom expressed in Sperry’s work and of their profound respect for Sperry’s teaching techniques which include the importance of contemplation, organization, love and joy – all key to expressing freedom in art. The event concluded with questions and answers.
It was a very stimulating and inspiring afternoon that left us even more grateful for Asher House’s lovely gift! We all gained a deeper appreciation for Vicci Sperry’s significant contribution to the art world as a whole.