Draylen Mason Tribute in Lovingly Rendered Street Art

May 24, 2018 by: Ben Heimsath

We look the arts to express things we can’t otherwise describe. In recent weeks, the Austin community has experienced feelings of horror, vulnerability, loss, and betrayal associated with the recent bombing event. One Austin street artist has been able to create a remarkable piece that captures our feelings while paying a loving tribute to one of the victims, Draylen Mason. On the side of an ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / East Austin / Street Art

365 Challenge: Lessons Learned and What Comes Next

January 01, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

It’s going to take a while to review a year’s worth of blogposts, but it’s already pretty clear that several themes deserve more exploration. For 2017, I’m continuing the blog, though changing the pace. I’d like to go deeper into topics that deserve further study. So I’ll post twice a week this year. My deadlines will shift to Wednesday and Sunday. I’ll still be focused on spiritual phenomena - ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial / Religious

Roadside Memorial in Clear Lake Area Revisited

December 28, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The end of the year approaches and of course I’m looking back at this year of blogging. The idea of writing about objects or spaces associated with faith, religion, or spirituality came spontaneously last December 31. A book my wife had ordered was delivered moments before we jumped in the car to drive to the country for New Years. The book, the 365 Journal, by artist and author Noah Scalin is ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial

Christmas for Erica and Elias Memorial

December 01, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

It’s after Thanksgiving, so we can expect more and more decorations in the next few days and weeks before Christmas. Our local memorial is already preparing for the season. I’ve been recording this suddenly sacred site where family members regularly tend to the two crosses. At this location, over ten years ago, two young cousins, Erica Vasquez, and Elias Sanchez were killed by a drunk driver. So ... Read More

Holy Place / Suddenly Sacred / Memorial

No Final Words for Memorial in West

November 16, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The West Fertilizer Plant Explosion three years ago is now relegated to old memory by most of the general public. On April 17, 2013, a fire at a fertilizer storage facility ignited stocks of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate. The explosion produced a massive force equal to as much as 10 tons of TNT. The blast killed fifteen and injured over 160. The plant was obliterated and nearby residences, a ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial

New Yorkers Turn to Subway Therapy

November 15, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

An artist in Manhattan who goes by the name of Levee felt there was a need in the modern world for the concept of absolution. He thought about how to give people a public way to relieve their burdens from more than guilt, but also from the stresses and worries of daily life in a big city. His first idea was to offer a table in a prominent location where anyone would be welcome to write their ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial

Orlando to Purchase Mass Shooting Site for Memorial

November 09, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

What ultimately happens to the Pulse nightclub, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in US history will be up to the citizens of Orlando. Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Monday that an agreement had been reached with the owners and the Council would be asked to approve the deal next week. The property has been empty since June 12, when a gunman opened fire on revelers during a dance party. Before ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial / Sacred Symbols

Roadside Memorial an Ofrenda in East Austin

October 27, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an expansion of this suddenly sacred memorial. Perhaps in preparation for the Dios de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the installation has begun to look like a devotional altar or ofrenda in recognition of a departed loved-one. I blogged recently about this tradition and the folk art associated with the it. Today, I took a closer look at this outdoor art and ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial

Dallas Still Conflicted About LBJ's Oath of Office

October 21, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A news story out of Dallas illustrates what can happen when a memorial for a pivotal event is important to some people, but others may feel differently. You would think that the impetus for placing the memorial would spark a moment of exchange to identify lingering issues and resolve conflicting feelings. But you might just as likely see people take the other approach and do everything possible ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Sacred Symbols

North Austin Memorial Honors St. Edward’s Student

August 09, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Sometimes spontaneous memorials become fixtures. I drove by this assemblage in North Austin recently. This looked like a suddenly sacred memorial at the site of an accident, so I pulled into a nearby parking lot to check it out. The lacey flowers on the wreath cover up not one, but two crosses on the electrical pole. A bunch of silk flowers below are pretty faded, but someone clearly has been ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial / Austin