Stefanie Moser, a Highland Park artist who hula hoops around Pittsburgh, spent Lent wrapping her mind around Judas.
She thought about what the apostle meant to Jesus, about why he betrayed him and about how Judas felt afterwards, when Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified.
On Good Friday, a day when Christians often observe the 14 Stations of the Cross, Ms. Conley, 28, unveiled her interpretation of the Second Station, when Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested.
Her art piece depicts blood spilling out of a cloth bag onto the ground, meant to symbolize the blood that was shed after Judas turns Jesus over to the chief priests and elders for 30 pieces of silver.
Her assemblage piece was one of 15 works of art (there are two of the crucifixion) displayed in "By His Wounds," a Stations of the Cross art exhibition presented by The Open Door church Friday at its meeting site inside The Union Project in Highland Park.
"It's just a new way of seeing and sharing the journey," Ms. Moser said. "It offers a different way to reflect, both through the artists and people who are viewing the work."
It is the seventh year that The Open Door, which is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has asked artists to create their own interpretations of the traditional Stations of the Cross, said the Rev. B.J. Woodworth, co-pastor of The Open Door. The art pieces are displayed each year for just one day, Good Friday.
This year, there were framed photos of a garden scene to represent Station One, when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. There was a rooster made of Legos to represent Station Four, when Jesus is denied by his disciple Peter. And for Station 14, a short video display on an iPad represented the station when Jesus is laid in the tomb.
The message of the Stations of the Cross artistic display is "that the church is not old and stodgy," Mr. Woodworth said. "It's creative and innovative and trying to think fresh about an ancient tradition."
And, he said, it's also a way to invite people back into the church who may not show up for a typical Sunday service.
Sandra Conley, 60, an artist who lives in Peters, goes to her services at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, rather than at The Open Door. Yet when she learned of the art project, she decided it would be a good way for her to reflect.
"I think this is really unique," she said. "It's really a wonderful opportunity to blend your faith and your art."
To create a piece to illustrate Station Three, when Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin, a council of elders, Ms. Conley began with wooden boxes from a dollar store. She painted the wood, then added small figures and gold chains and silver coins.
In tiny lettered beads, she spelled out the words spoken by the Sanhedrin: "We have no King but Caesar."
"This was my Lent," Ms. Conley said. "I didn't give up candy for Lent. But I truly worked on this for most of Lent."
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707. First Published April 7, 2012 2:00 PM