Clyfford Still spent much of childhood thinking how the vastness of the lands surrounding him could offer plentiful resources to others. He later reflected on his experiences as a child that taught him to respect the “awful bigness of the land, the men and the machines.” As an expressionist abstract artist, he used these ideas to paint on big canvases.
The Clyfford Still Museum in the Golden Triangle in downtown Denver has showcased the late Still’s achievements for nearly two decades. As an ode to his childhood, the museum sent out a casting call to all young Denver filmmakers to submit videos about “awful bigness” that could be displayed at their new exhibit.
For some of the families served by Catholic Charities of Denver, the thought of having lofty ideas or long-term plans can feel out-of-reach. But, like Still, that didn’t stop two Catholic Charites ministries from thinking outside the box and submitting videos for the contest. Teams from both Margery Reed, one of our Early Childhood Education Centers, and Marisol Homes, a long-term, but temporary home for women and children, submitted videos – and both were selected for the new exhibit.
Margery Reed’s video featured students coming together to be bigger than themselves. Community is the driving force behind success at all of our Early Childhood Education centers. With dedicated teachers and parents, children of all backgrounds come together to tackle whatever they may be facing. The mission is to not let anyone feel small and the video highlighted just that. It showed that little parts of the school contribute to something much bigger.
Demari, a 4-year-old resident of Marisol Homes stars in the production of “Feeling Big”, a 60-second film that was also selected for the exhibit. The video highlights that, no matter where you may live, you can still express yourself in a large way. As a child who has experienced homelessness for a little over a year, the world can feel isolating. When he and his mother Sierra moved into Marisol Homes a few months ago, the world felt a little easier to navigate. The two share a comfortable room and the playground in the backyard makes Demari, a child on the autism spectrum, feel big and strong. The video displays the importance of allowing all children to exceed their imaginations, no matter the circumstances.
Families from both Catholic Charities’ organizations were invited to a special red-carpet premiere at SIE Film Center in Denver. Equipped with popcorn and a regal stage, the families felt represented in a way many people do not have the chance to experience.
With tears in her eyes, Sierra expressed a deep gratitude for her son and the event. “It felt so special to have this experience and watch Demari on the screen. I have watched the video myself a hundred times but to see his face light up as he watched himself as the star in his own life, feels like I had done something right.”
Both films will be displayed from now until September 10th at the Clyfford Still Museum. For more information and a chance to see it live, visit https://clyffordstillmuseum.org/exhibitions/awful-bigness/