Simone Monique Barnes, Wildflower’s Director of Membership and Spiritual Life, hosts an annual gathering of artists and creative thinkers for virtual living room style conversations, in the tradition of the Harlem Renaissance. This six-week salon series of artist-led, artist-centered conversations uses a mix of art, music, poetry, dance, essays, film, current events, and/or spiritual texts as springboards for dialogue and community.

Salons are open to anyone, especially those who self-identify as an artist (in any visual, performing arts, literary, or other creative expression), art lover, or as a creative thinker. You do not need to be a professional artist to attend a salon.

Held on Monday evenings,
February 19 through March 25, 2024,
on Zoom.

This year’s theme is The Painter and the Poet’s Fire, inspired by the poetic words of Phyllis Wheatley (b. 1753 – d. 1784) “…may the painter’s and the poet’s fire | To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!” which are lines from the poem “To S. M. A Young African Painter, On Seeing His Works

During these salons we focus on the artist, rather than solely on their artwork, engaging in conversations that artists want to discuss, such as imagination, creating during hard times, survival, rejection, criticism, racism, oppression, the creative process, fear, artistic expression, developing new work, spirituality, faith, religion, and more.

Join us for one or more of the six Monday Virtual Artists Salon dates, held from 7pm – 9pm Central Time, on Zoom.

(Note: The first 30 minutes are for checking in, getting settled, and socializing. The salon topic of conversation begins at 7:30 pm CT.)

Register in advance for these Zoom meetings:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Salon dates:

  • February 19, 2024  – The Painter and the Poet’s Fire
  • February 26, 2024 – The Artist’s Lent: fasting, temptation, sustenance, and sacrifice.
  • March 4, 2024 –  Identity and Activism: finding inspiration in the life and work of Jean LaMarr (Northern Paiute/Achomawi)
  • March 11, 2024 –  Living room conversation with artist Lynda Coleman*
  • March 18, 2024 –  Living room conversation with poet Joe Brundidge*
  • March 25, 2024 – Don’t Get Lost
Lynda Coleman
Joe Brundidge

Why Lent and Why Artists?

In many Christian traditions, Lent is a solemn forty-day period of self examination, reflection, spiritual discipline, fasting and prayer leading to Easter. The word “Lent” comes from the Old English “lencten,” referring to Spring and the “lengthening” of days that occurs at this time of year. 

In the book The Cross and The Lynching Tree, Black Liberation theologian James H. Cone writes about how it was artists who pushed the Church into social change during the Harlem Renaissance. “Most black artists were not church-going Christians. Like many artists throughout history, they were the concerned human beings who served as society’s ritual priests and prophets, seeking out the meaning of the black experience in a world defined by white supremacy. As witnesses to black suffering, they were in the words of African American literary critic Trudier Harris, “active tradition-bearers of the uglier phases of black history.””

This Lenten Artists Salon Series honors artists, as a whole, as society’s ritual priests, prophets, and tradition-bearers who demonstrate our understanding of people’s experiences. In this series, the Artist’s Lent is an inter-religious, spiritual season of creative reflection, self-examination, reading, meditation, and connection.

As Cone notes, “More than anyone, artists demonstrate our understanding of the need to represent the beauty and the terror of our people’s experiences.”

“Artists force us to see things we do not want to look at because they make us uncomfortable with ourselves and the world we have created.”


Examples of past Salon topics:

  • Into the Light: The role of artists in times of dread (see Toni Morrison’s article “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear.”)
  • Without honor: The artist as prophet
  • Bread, water, and wilderness: the Muse requires
  • Raisins in the Sun: Parables of our talents

Notes for Artists and Creatives:

The artist salon is a day off, not a day on for artists. There is no expectation of performance or art exhibition. There is no expectation to talk about “the work.” The salons are an invitation for artists to participate in conversations with other artists, art lovers, and creatives about topics they are interested in.