Since 2008 our church’s artists have collaborated with our pastors to create large backdrops and paintings (total measurements are 50 feet wide and 11 feet tall) for the sanctuary of Vineyard Boise. These are prophetic images that visually explore the sermon series.
Each backdrop consists of 3 canvases measuring 18 feet wide and 11 feet tall, which are suspended by hooks and rollers on a track. We bought the system and the custom-size unprimed canvas from a theater backdrop company, Chicago Canvas.
That unprimed canvas certainly required a lot of gesso! (We actually used 5 gallons of high-quality house paint primer.) Now we just walk around on the canvases and use brooms, mops, and car wash brushes to paint on them. Each time we change out a theme, we roller primer over the old backdrop and then apply the new paint, usually very transparently with rich colors and lots of water so the canvas doesn’t end up cracking or weighing as much as an elephant.
We have 2 complete sets of canvases so we can paint one while displaying the other. Each backdrop is displayed for an average of 8 months depending on what season we’re in as a church; it varies.
We are starting to explore more texture and 3-dimensional objects lately. It’s always a rich experience, saturated in prayer and created in community.
If you’d like to help with backdrops, click here and join the group called “Edify the Church.”