Hope Curran Lundblad interacts with an artist while hanging out with her husband, Peter Lundblad (to her left), and friends in a park. Music plays in an amphitheater area after the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s 2022 Soapbox Derby.

The Art of Noticing People and Beauty

words by

Rachel Streich

photos by

Ted Wilcox

Words in all caps and bold

Click-clack, click-clack.

Hope Curran Lundblad’s index fingers jump above the keys of her typewriter as she writes a new poem at her desk. Her thumb hits the space bar ready for the next word, and she later slides the silver indent bar with her middle finger to start another line.

Morning light streams through the tall windows overlooking her San Francisco street, where walkers make their way down a hill, surrounded by Victorian houses.

Iconic Golden Gate Bridge The iconic Golden Gate bridge, opened in 1937, draws sightseers and carries about 112,000 vehicles per day.
Hope types on her portable typewriter Hope writes poetry on a typewriter that she bought in France. She sometimes visits cafés or markets and brings her typewriter for “poetry pop-ups,” during which she writes poems for people.

A woman outside turns her head toward Hope as she passes by. “Hello!” Hope calls from inside.

When people glance at the window, they see Hope’s paintings and her studio. It’s not just a bedroom. It’s the place where Hope makes art and where she and her husband, Peter, rest their bikes and cameras and display mementos of friends.

Evidence of the ins and outs of private life — stacked books and clothes peeking out of a dresser — surround Hope and Peter’s “poetry factory,” as they’ve named it.  When she’s not making art, Hope also assists an art curator at a local gallery and serves part-time with Cru®’s art ministry, Transform.

Hope and Peter Curran Peter emerges from his work-from-home office space, which also functions as a kitchen pantry. After Hope hands him a freshly brewed Guatemalan roast, he gets back to his graphic design work for Williams-Sonoma.

Transform, a part of Cru City and a team under the umbrella of the Cru Arts and Culture network, seeks to “authentically represent Christ in the worlds of art, media and entertainment,” according to its website. Staff members around the country spread the good news of Jesus among visual artists, performing artists, literary artists and more.

As part of Transform, others in San Francisco also use their art to illuminate God’s love, including Bonnie Sanders, a humanitarian photographer, and Francesca Cipponeri, a dancer. Francesca dances and meets people in a more impoverished area of the city, the Tenderloin district. Near the studio, she gives snacks to a man on the street, who recognizes her.

“We're about creating artistically, meeting people, and journeying with people in their life and faith and art,” says Joe Schlie, executive director of Cru Arts & Culture.

Hope and frind Francesca dance on the street Francesca Cipponeri and Hope break out their dance moves. In March, the two danced together with other artists in a show at a contemporary dance theater. They performed a piece that Francesca choreographed called “What She’s Made Of.”
Downtown San Francisco Observers can see expansive views of San Francisco from Coit Tower, a popular local site. San Francisco is the second most expensive city in the U.S. to live in. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple put San Francisco on the map for people seeking innovation and wealth from cutting-edge technology.

 Hope crosses paths with people outside the walls of her home, but today she doesn’t need to move. Another neighbor approaches Hope’s open window and introduces himself.

“Is there anything I need to know, being your neighbor?” Hope asks.

The two chat about housing and parking. Before he leaves, Hope passes on a small piece of thick paper with the words Poetic License. They’re cards she hands out as a fun parting gift, with her website, Instagram handle and email address. People can fill in blank spaces on the front with their name and favorite color. On the back, typed letters announce, “This license is issued to ensure FREEDOM to do things otherwise seen as absurd or ROMANTIC for the sake of POETRY!”

Artistic expression and generosity offer ways to notice people in a fast-moving, self-reliant world. God displays his beauty through human creativity, welcoming artists and neighbors to experience his love.

Hope engages with a neighbor through her bedroom window The window beside Hope’s typing spot opens up the chance to talk with a neighbor in the Presidio Heights area of San Francisco, where she and Peter live.

generous – by Hope Curran Lundblad







Handmade kindness

Hope grew up in a missionary family, the youngest of four children in Martinez, California. She describes her dad, Daniel Curran, with the word whimsy and her mom, Margee Curran, with woo. Both parents serve as Cru staff members. 

“I’ve learned what it means to be an artist,” Daniel says, “by having [Hope] as a daughter — that an artist creates out of who they are. It’s in them.” 

During her younger years, Hope made art pieces such as earrings for people, kept active in swimming, music and photography, and looked for her place in the world, where she fit. But the flurry of activities and “the path of perfection,” as she calls it, didn’t lead to life.

Dan and Marghee Curran with Hope their daughter Hope visits her parents, Margee and Daniel Curran, in the garden of their home in Martinez, California, where she grew up. Along the fence, roses bloom in what the family calls a “coat of many colors.” Margee and Daniel started this “garden of healing” after loved ones passed away.
Hope's artwork from her childhood Works of art from Hope’s younger years hang in the Currans’ home. Her first portrait of a cake remains intact. In second grade, Hope devoted herself to creating a painting that would reach a position of honor: not the fridge, but the wall.

During Hope’s college years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, God renewed her faith.

Hope later moved to France for an artist residency program with Transform, under the ministry of Agape Art in Paris. The residency helps artists seek professional careers and “better understand the integration of their art and faith.” Four years in Paris allowed Hope to work toward and receive a master’s degree in fine arts at Sorbonne University while pursuing relationships with artists, helping them know Christ.

Paris became home. Hope’s love for the French way of hospitality and delighting in simple blessings helped her create friendships with people. She treated artists to cups of coffee and baked chocolate chip cookies from her mom’s recipe for an art series that gave people the experience of a living room.


“When I’m able to give an original piece of art or something handmade, it’s like the art becomes that embrace to them,” Hope says. “And it’s like sharing a part of your soul.”

But going deeper relationally sometimes proves challenging for Hope. Whether in Paris or San Francisco, people aren’t always interested in finding a sense of community or compelled towards exploring Christianity. Some speak of past negative experiences with the church and don’t want anything to do with it. So Hope has learned to do a lot of listening.

Iconic SF skyline with Painted Ladies houses A famous row of houses called the Painted Ladies, featured in the television show “Full House,” marks a popular spot for visitors to San Francisco.

Beyond the page

Hope leaves her San Francisco apartment for frequent strolls, which she calls “treasure hunts.”

“I like using that terminology,” Hope says, “because it identifies with the playful heart of God, [asking,] ‘What do we have today, Lord?’. If I’m going too fast or if I’m impatient, or not paying attention or present, I miss it all.”

One day Hope passes murals and music in the Mission District while spending time with Bonnie and Francesca.

Hope stops to smell a flower with friends Hope stops to smell fragrant flowers on a walk around San Francisco with fellow Transform staff members Bonnie Sanders (left) and Francesca Cipponeri. Bonnie serves as a humanitarian photographer, and Francesca is a dancer who also teaches at a studio.

They stop in front of what used to be a corner Italian restaurant. An artist now inhabits the storefront. Wooden railroad ties on train tracks cover holes in the cement floor and stacked books line one of the walls, with a construction barrier nearby. 

The artist once told Hope that it’s an excavation site of sorts, and that he is “practicing radical transparency.” It’s a mysterious space. And Hope wants to know more of his story. So she slips a small orange piece of paper with a typed poem under the door. Like giving a secret note, she says.

Hope speaks to a man practicing music in the Golden Gate Park Hope finds a man playing Guitar Hero, a music video game, in the national park near her apartment. They chat for a while, talk about Easter and exchange Instagram names.

Simple interactions like this can lead to more. Such as with an older French woman named Monique, who owns a store down the street from Hope’s apartment. The two met when Hope helped Monique lock the art and antiques shop one day.

Monique sits at a desk and chats with Hope in French during another visit. It’s the week before Easter, and the two end up in a conversation about Pâques, the French word for Easter, which is similar to the French word for Passover. Monique comes from a Jewish background, and they talk about the celebration of spiritual holidays.

Surprising connections

Another friend of Hope’s lives in her apartment building. Grace wanted to join her for church the Sunday before Easter, out of curiosity. The sermon felt perfectly timed for Grace, addressing broken dreams and God meeting people with his presence in the middle of it.

Hope paints during the church sermon and hands a little art piece to Grace.

“I often will pray ‘Who’s this for?’ and give [the painting] to someone,” Hope says.

Hope and Grace, a young professional, have bonded over gardening and gift-giving. 

Hope and Peter have lunch with her sister, a neighbor and a friend After church, Hope experiences community with (left to right) her neighbor Grace, sister Hannah, Peter and his good friend Kyle as they eat lunch together. A Mexican restaurant within walking distance offers a convenient stop for burritos.

Hope meets others in the city who grew up in church settings and are beginning to deconstruct what they believe — questioning what is really true. Some have decided to turn away from faith. So, unexpected meetings start connections that require trust in God.

“To be an artist, you have to have a lot of faith that what you’re doing matters,” Hope says. “I think that parallels with my faith in the gospel—that what God is doing is important and beautiful.” 

Hope prays with a woman Hope prays with a woman in Concord, California, at an Easter event held by Refuge Food Pantry, which started as a ministry of Refuge Church and now includes other partners. People in the community pick up clothing or everyday items they need and eat pancakes hot off a sizzling grill.

Participating in the moment

Even a relaxing and fun Sunday presents spontaneous moments. In April, crowds of spectators gather in a local park for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s 2022 Soapbox Derby. In this quirky event, groups of artists create small motorless cars with a concept — like a bathtub or a Safeway grocery cart — and attempt to drive the car down a steep hill. Announcers bellow descriptions of the zany chariots as they speed through the chilly air to the finish line.

Hope photographs at a community event Hope photographs children who gathered for a gospel message before collecting Easter eggs during the park outreach.

After the main event, Hope, Peter and some friends head toward an amphitheater where techno-sounding music blasts through speakers. They meet other artists who join their sunny hangout spot in the grass.

As Hope later reflects on the gathering, she wonders, “Where would Jesus go? Not just, ‘What would Jesus do?’”

SF community event Participants of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Soapbox Derby stand in front of the vehicle titled “Humpbacks of Notre Dame.” After the event, teams won trophies for achievements such as “clunkiest” and “most colorful.”

Photo Slideshow: The Faces and Places of San Francisco

Hope and a young man from Turkey chat about art and faith. While the man says he’s only “kind of” an artist, Hope sees him as one already.

She nods as she listens to his thoughts, including his answer to her question about his spiritual background. It’s a brief conversation, but the setting and their common interest in art allow them to go a little bit deeper. She believes, as she says later, that “we’re all craving heaven — that home.”

Hope takes in the atmosphere and writes a phrase that could serve as a sort of theme of the day.

“There is a beautiful WONDER in the sunny spirit of a city fully alive.”

deconstruction  – by Hope Curran Lundblad

we take down the frames
which once held the pristine picture
painted to perfection
we let the walls
       be bare bones,
letting the soil rest in some sense

without hanging up the next show
instead we set the table…
a feast for the nations
with candles lit
the art comes off the walls
       into our lives
inviting the many, the mischiefs and forgotten,
to step into this gallery turned
to a home, making a mess as we create
       a community
of real and raw humanity
and that is the true masterpiece:
our table full
our conversation flowing
an unframed work of art
of true beauty

Words and poems not only embody inner musings, but they also shape prayer. At the gallery where she works, Hope reads one of her poems for an artist’s performance piece called “The Last Supper.” Hope’s poem referenced Scripture and became like a collective prayer that patrons took part in and appreciated. An artistic environment made a safe place for acknowledging Jesus. And she considers how differently the topic might have been received if she had said, “I’m going to pray.”

Hope writes poetry Hope creates poetry with watercolors and a fountain pen from France, as well as with her typewriter. She brings Scripture and writing into her days.

“Sometimes what happens in our world is that if we are super direct, then that directness actually pushes people away,” Joe Schlie says. “Oftentimes, we have to do some of the work of disarming people, so that they’re better able to hear the message of the good news in our life.”

Hope photographs a barista at the coffee shop she provides social media support Hope photographs a barista friend who uses her skills to serve coffee-lovers and even to compete in a latte art competition outside working hours. Hope once worked at this coffee shop in her hometown, but now she takes pictures for the shop’s social media.
Hope has a garden plot near her home Tending to a community garden brings Hope refreshment. She finds a place for a tomato plant that her mother gave her. Neighbors often come out and garden next to each other.

Giving and receiving from a big God

Ministry among artists looks like planting seeds and tending to the earth. “We’re not extracting gold,” Hope says, “We’re planting gardens for future generations here.”

Hope says Jeremiah 29:7 comes to mind as she thinks about life in San Francisco:

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (NIV).

Hope poses on the Presidio pier with Golden Gate Bridge Hope works at an art gallery near San Francisco Bay, in a historic location that used to be an Army post.

Hope envisions a place — she sees it as a castle — where artists gather and have a sense of togetherness. But even if she doesn’t find a beautiful French castle in San Francisco, she sees glimpses of God moving in the city environment.

“That dream really can be made tangible,” Hope says, “in daily practices of community, art and hospitality.”

Iconic Golden Gate Bridge Beaches and parks offer hangout spots outside busy urban life in San Francisco.

Next Steps

Hope uses her passions for the arts to spiritually engage thoughtfully and relationally with people in her community. Click the button below to learn how you could use your gifts to share Christ with others.


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