On Display: September - October 2023
This show is available during business hours (Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm) or on weekends by advance appointment only.
Christopher M. Strickland is an artist, educator, researcher, and creativity and educational consultant. He holds a BFA in Fine Arts Education and Painting from the University of Southern Maine, as well as an M.Ed. in Arts Integration: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Design and Ph.D. in Educational Studies, with a concentration in Educational Leadership, from Lesley
Prior to moving to Nebraska in 2019 and joining the UNK Faculty in 2022, he lived in New England and taught K-12 visual arts education in New Hampshire. His creative scholarship and research focus is on autoethnographic and arts-based inquiry and broadly encompasses identity, spirituality, creativity and art education, visual literacy, interdisciplinary curriculum design, and culturally responsive teaching.
Christopher’s abstract watercolor expressions derive inspiration from life experiences and various academic subjects, (e.g., history, philosophy, psychology, sociology), nature and the environment, as well as an eclectic array of music, poetry, storytelling, and literature. His paintings are displayed in personal collections across the United States, and in regional galleries, businesses, and exhibitions.
“Art reflects life.” - Amy Grant
“We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.” - Thomas Merton
“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something
you have to earn, anything is possible.” - Brené Brown
“In the flush of love's light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love
which sets us free.” - Maya Angelou
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living; we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” - Richard Rohr
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” - Albert Einstein
Surrendering… The Art of Letting Go
If education is about learning and becoming; contemplation is about unlearning and surrendering oneself to spiritual awareness and connection. The works presented in this exhibit are unique expressions and reflections of a creative and spiritual journey towards developing contemplative vision. Contemplative vision is a dimension of subjective existence within universal experiences
that can transform the heart and mind, through the process of surrendering and letting go, into a non-dual consciousness.
While it is impossible for individuals to unknow something they have come to know, it is possible to open ourselves to different perspectives or ways of seeing. Contemplative vision is an invitation to release the dualistic mindset that is pervasive in our Western culture and society, in order to embrace a non-dual consciousness and an innate connection between humanity, nature, and the divine.
Contemplation is typically associated with meditation and prayer, but creativity and artistic expression are also forms of contemplation and can be acts of meditation and prayer. Seeking contemplative vision has imparted three “pearls of wisdom” to me:
1. Prayer is more than mere words or utterances; Prayer is a place, an attitude, and an approach to relational-being. Through artmaking and creative expression, I can experience the substance and essence of prayer, which is engaging with and living in
2. Paradoxes essentially frame the human and spiritual experience, and one’s reality through non-dual consciousness. Paradoxes are phenomena that combine contradictory features or qualities and render contrary conclusions or results. Examples of the
paradoxes deeply layered within the context of living that I have experienced include:
“Finding oneself by losing oneself”
“Giving it away in order to keep it”
“The greater the suffering, the greater the healing and blessings”
“Surrender to win”
“Time changes everything and nothing”
3. Surrendering is the liberating experience of releasing dualistic thinking (either/or) and embracing pluralistic thinking (both/and) to appreciate the mystery and reality of paradoxes within the living of our lives. Within this context, surrendering becomes a
process of meaning-making through the discovery of an individual’s authentic, true self, in relation to the divine union and flow that all things (human, nature, and spirit) are a part of.
It is with great pleasure that I share with you Surrendering… The Art of Letting Go, abstract watercolor expressions that reflect a spiritual awakening, a journey of faith and liberation, and wisdom garnered through contemplative vision.
The Minden Opera House Gallery is pleased to display the work of a variety of artists from Nebraska or have a connection to Nebraska. Artists are selected by committee. If you are interested in displaying at the Minden Opera House Gallery, please submit 5-7 digital samples of your work and complete the following forms and return them to: Minden Opera House Gallery, PO Box 1, Minden, NE 68959
Or email to email@example.com