Make a “Listening Mural”
Make a “listening mural” where everyone represents in words or imagery what they experience in the silence of worship.
Materials and Setup
- Large roll of butcher block or other blank paper
- Various art materials: pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, paint, pastels
- Paper: construction, origami, patterned, wallpaper books, scrapbooking
- Textured materials: ribbon, yarn, buttons, pompoms, felt
- Natural objects: leaves, small shells, feathers
- Optional: trays to bring materials to the mural space
Members of the group will work individually to contribute to a shared creation, in this case a “listening mural.” You may chose how you participate: you might use art materials to add to the mural, or you might participate by being present and holding the silence.
- Before you begin, create space for a section of rolled out paper (5-10 feet, depending on the size of the group) and arrange art materials on table(s) nearby. The art materials should be arranged in a way that is easy to access (keep children in mind) and inviting to participants.
- Gather the group around the rolled out piece of paper.
- Introduce the activity and following directions.
- Invite participants to settle into silence and “listen” for what that silence holds for them: what images, feelings, words are present in the silence for them?
- When they’re ready, participants may quietly explore the art materials and bring back to the mural paper what they would like to use to share what they “heard” in the silence.
- There are no right or wrong answers! You may use words, images, and any materials to represent your experience of the silence.
- Listen for the energy of the group, and determine a time to end the activity. If there are participants still working when it feels like time to stop, provide a five minute time for them to transition out of the activity before you end. (“We’re going to end this part of our time together in five minutes, so I invite you to bring your work to a close for now.”)
- Make space to share your experiences and contributions to the mural. Gather around what you’ve created together and invite sharing. Do not call on or ask anyone to share. There may be silence during this time.
Close with a period of silent worship, if you did not have this as part of the final step in the activity. Express gratitude to participants for what they shared in your time together.
- Make mural paper and art supplies available during a period of shared silence, and invite participants to work on mural out of that worship together.
- Engage in this activity after doing the one called “Interviews.” Participants listen to one another share their experience of silence, and then each person represents what they heard the other saying with some image or words on the group mural.
- If the idea of representing silence seems too abstract, consider playing a piece of music (preferably one without words) and invite participants to represent what they hear or experience in the music on a mural.
Credits: Melinda Wenner Bradley (PhYM), Exercise Author