Emily Hensley has always had a soft spot for LaCasa Inc. The Goshen-based social services and advocacy agency provides a variety of programs, including several that help low- and middle-income families purchase and repair homes.
Hensley, a visual artist and her husband, Joshua, who is a musician and visual artist, took advantage of one of those programs. They helped us fix our house, and what they did are things that we could not have done, she says.
So when a fellow artist told the Hensleys about the Doors of Goshen, a benefit auction of antique doors that have been painted by area artists with a portion of the funds supporting LaCasa, Joshua and Emily Hensley jumped at the chance to participate. Ive always wanted to give something back to LaCasa, she says, and we both felt like this was a good chance.
The doors were removed from two buildings that were gutted and renovated by LaCasa, The two buildings the Shoots Building and the Lincoln Hotel Building were renovated and turned into apartments, and the doors had to be removed so that metal security doors could be installed.
The Doors of Goshen exhibition and auction gives these doors a new lease on life, 13 artists were selected to paint the doors. One artist is from Alaska, and the rest are from Elkhart, Kosciusko and St. Joseph counties.
The doors were on display at Eyedart Studio since Monday and will be on display outside on Main Street through Thursday. The auction took place Friday at Eyedart and Gateway Winery. Hensley says she wanted her door to be a tribute to the history of LaCasa. Her door is called Si Si Puede! (Yes We Can).
Hensley painted one side of the door red and the other side of the door black. She painted a picture of the United Farm Workers flag on the red side, and a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the black side.
Hensley says both designs honor immigrants and the migrant farmworkers two groups that receive assistance from LaCasa.
Hensley says her research for the Doors of Goshen project taught her a lot about the religious and cultural symbolism of doors.
In ancient Egypt, doors were used as the passageway between life and death, she says. And in the Bible, Jesus talks about (standing at the door).
The people who buy the doors can use them as decoration, or a buyer could decide to put the door in a gallery, but Hensley is wishing for more. I hope, she says, that that it still gets used as a door.