Art and Mediation

Sometimes the curve of a simple line conveys more meaning than a 50-page legal brief. There is an art to mediation that cannot be explained in a step-by-step diagram or described without stripping away the art itself and rendering it as flaccid, impotent words.

There is an art to being a parent. That art transcends broken marriages, broken promises, and the broken hearts of adults. It must. The art of being a parent requires remembering that no matter how much you hurt, it’s your job to prevent your children from taking on your hurt, becoming your salve. And that is what makes ending the intimate relationship of two parents so challenging. Two parents must remain in a life-long relationship if they are to be in a life-long relationship with their children. And the better the relationship is between the parents, the better the relationship will be with their children.

That thought motivated us to decide to honor the art of parenting through the hardest of times by finding a local artist to capture that complexity.

Fortunately for me, I happen to brunch with Corinne Hill, the executive director of the library system here in Chattanooga, and Susan Robison, the President of the library’s Board of Directors. Corinne seized on the idea of local art and told me I had to meet Orean Collier—an artist she was planning to feature in the library.

Orean Collier can say a thousand words with a single line. I was immediately captivated by her work. I got her connected with the designer I work with on all building-related projects Kathleen Anderson, and that was pretty much all I had to do.

Orean created a triptych of parents and their daughter, separate, but connected. Sad, but present. Working their way through to what comes next. Isn’t that ultimately what we all must do?


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