Monday, March 25, 2013

Palms, Passion & Penitence

I'm back from a fabulous weekend in Philadelphia with my family. I travel there every March to judge a bookmark-design contest at the Abington Library (where my sister volunteers). Yesterday we attended church, and participated in the Palm Sunday service. I sometimes struggle to understand biblical language, but having a sketchbook in hand helps me feel more connected to the service.

Robin (on the upper left) is a wonderful minister; she'll be retiring in April after leading this congregation for over 25 years. Here, she and fellow parishioners play roles in reading the Passion Gospel.

Our tour-guide is the guy just under the cell-block"5" on the right.

On Saturday we visited the Eastern State Penitentiary - a former prison in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Cell Block #11 on the left. The entance to a cell on the right.

The prison was 'designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts' - many of whom lived in solitary confinement.

Al Capone's cell  (ready for a write-up in Design*Sponge?)
Most inmates experienced a bare-bones existence in tiny cells, but there were exceptions. Legendary gangster, Al Capone, was allowed to live in relative luxury.

Only a handful of inmates have escaped over (or under) the walls towering around the prison.  Fortunately, all these convicts were rounded up quickly. It's striking how nice the neighborhood surrounding this prison is. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is only a few blocks away.

Luckily, I'm just visiting.
These are just a few snippets from my weekend of palms, passion and penitence. A special thanks to my hosts, Ellen & Rob, for a great time - which also included delicious Mexican food and margaritas at la Calaca Feliz . We also watched another type of passion play - in the form of NCAA March Madness basketball on the tube.

Thanks for visiting. You can see more sketchbook images here.

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