The Art of Recovery, Part I: From the Beach to Christ Cathedral

By Glenda Rice Collins   (Updated September 27, 2019)

Bartlesville, Okla., USA — Personal injury along with physical and mental duress can derail the best of intentions for a fulfilling life. To restore a semblance of “balance,” — Get thee to a beach, and get back to the arts! 

From my own experience with a severe and disabling injury to my right arm, wrist and hand, I have been, over two years, reminded about recovery issues: As with grief,  “It takes as long as it takes.” And it is life changing. The local physical rehabilitation center became my second home.  

Following two surgeries involving internal hardware, a series of three casts, splints, braces, frozen shoulder,  and many months of excruciatingly painful physical therapy, my recovery is far from complete.  But I am thankful for even slow progress, still coping with various ongoing exercises and adaptations. As a very disabled wheelchair-bound friend said to me years ago, “It can always be worse.”  

Eventually, the spirits must be lifted, or depression threatens to be a constant intruder, disabling powers of concentration and focus.  For me, the road to at least partial “recovery” of creative powers and enriched spirit eventually started with the self- imposed messages: “Get thee to a beach!” and “Get back to the arts!”


A new day shimmers at Breakers Beach, Coronado, California.

Nature and Wellness: Then and Now

A change of scenery, especially communing with nature, can be a Godsend.  So my 2018 trip to a favorite and familiar Coronado, CA beach inspired the long journey to a “new normal,” by providing a much needed, though brief, respite from the confines of home territory, isolation, and painful physical therapy routines. This is a work in progress.

Just breathing-in the negative ions generated by the surf, seaside, is uniquely and peacefully invigorating! Inspiration awaits.

Food for the Soul

While in California, a visit to the architecturally-inspiring Christ Cathedral campus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange —  (formerly Dr. Robert Harold Schuller’s famed Crystal Cathedral) — in Garden Grove, provided a spiritual and artistic boost for my sense of purpose.

A tour of the glistening, reflective campus structures, during ongoing transitional updates to the premises, took me to another world of inspiration.  (For additional details about the Christ Cathedral’s recent makeover, see Elizabeth Fazzare’s July 18, 2019  feature article in Architectural Digest; and visit:


Christ Cathedral as viewed in 2018. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.

Originally designed by Philip Johnson (in 1977) and John Burgee , the stunning architecture is reminiscent of Kansas-born artist Bruce Goff’s (1904-1982) 1949 vision, his Crystal Chapel design for Norman, Oklahoma, a somewhat similar concept that, sadly, was never built.

Along with creating many stunning works of visual contemporary art, now preserved by the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Goff also designed the Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, having been influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, and their Oklahoma history. (See also: Goff related feature on this website, at this link:


Perfect Prisms: Crystal Chapel, 2009,  by Ellen Sandor  & (art)n: Chris Kemp. Chris Day, Ben Carney, and Miguel Delgado, 30″x40″ Virtual Photograph/PHSCologram, Duratrans, Kodalith, Plexiglass; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, Norman; Gift of Dr. Richard and Ellen Sandor, 2010. The interpretive, artwork was inspired by Bruce Goff’s 1949  designs for a nondenominational chapel at O.U.

Reflective Creativity Anew

My 2018 docent-guided tour of the Christ Cathedral campus included reflective glimpses of additional visual arts within various campus environments, and breathtaking views! 


Surprising reflections in the Memorial Gardens area. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.



Sacred mural by John August Swanson, Los Angeles, California.


Tabernacle and Candelabra by German “Naif” artist Egino Weinert.


Evidence of inspiring, one-handed artistry is referenced, above.

Recently, it has been the site for such musical delights as: a Pacific Symphony concert, with the lovely American classical crossover vocalist, Jackie Evancho, for the July 13, 2019  Christ Cathedral Dedication Gala; and last Friday night’s concert in the Freed Theatre, featuring guest tenor, Cesar Antonio Sanchez, in Great Opera Arias and Romantic Melodies, with guest soprano Christina Franzetti, and pianist Mark Salters.  For additional details about future concerts, visit

A gala-related article, published September 9, 2019  in the Coast Magazine of The Orange County Register, may be viewed at this link:  Christ Cathedral docent volunteer Cathy Stanfill’s gala video may be viewed on YouTube at this link:


Christ Cathedral public tours are scheduled six days a week, and are wheelchair accessible.  Docent Cathy Stanfill is shown, above, escorting her Mom, Mary, around the grounds and gardens, as they commune with nature and nearby sacred sculpture.

Oklahoma Arts: Related Updates

NOW: A reinstallation of the permanent collection is underway at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, and will open October 4, 2019.  Watch for an upcoming Bruce Goff exhibition in the Spring of 2020. For details, visit

ONGOING: Continuing through October 20, 2019 at the Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville: Frida Kahlo’s Garden, an exhibition of some 250 Kahlo paintings and drawings of the Casa Azul garden that brought creative inspiration to her pain-ridden life. (See also, Kahlo-related article on this website at this link: An excerpt follows):

“After viewing the 2002 award-winning film, Frida, starring Salma Hayek, who also garnered support for, and produced it with artistic flair in Mexico, I am left with additional awe for the survival skills and artistic talents of Kahlo (1907-1954), who triumphed over her lifelong pain and physical limitations from severe personal injuries, with gusto, while owning and “branding” her distinctive appearance and unique style.”

Credits: Photography by Glenda Rice Collins.


Banner photo: Breakers Beach Sunset, Coronado, California. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.



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