Arts Reflection

Every month Marian Thomas shares an inspiration quote at the WCAKC board meeting. Enjoy!

Marian Thomas_harpsichord“There is a powerful, awe-inspiring creativity manifest in our world – and indeed, in ourselves: the new, the novel, the unforeseeable, the previously unheard of, break forth roundabout us and in our midst; and human life continues to be sustained from beyond itself. This serendipitous creativity provides grounds for our hope for the future.”
~ Gordon D. Kaufman, In the Beginning . . . Creativity
(Quoted in Arts Ministry: Nurturing the Creative Life of God’s People by Michael J. Bauer,
page 153.)

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Those to whom this “emotion” is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand rapt in awe, are as good as dead. Their eyes are closed.”
~ Albert Einstein

“The truth is, you have signed up for a life of service by going into the Arts. And the life-altering results of that service in other peoples’ lives will NEVER disappear as fame unquestionably will. You are here to serve the word, the director, the melody, the author, the chord progression, the choreographer ~ but above all and most importantly, with every breath, step, and stroke of the keyboard, you are here to serve humanity.”
~ Joyce Di Donato, addressing the graduating class of Juilliard Conservatory of Music

“Imagination is crucial to the compassionate life. A uniquely human quality, it enables the artist to create entirely new worlds and give a strong semblance of reality to events that never happened and people who never existed.  Compassion and the abandonment of ego are both essential to art …. when a film makes us weep, it is often because it has touched a buried memory or unacknowledged yearning of our own. Art calls us to recognize our pain and aspirations and to open our minds to others. Art helps to realize that we are not alone; others are suffering too.”
~ Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

“Community Arts” could be loosely defined as a way of creating art in which professional artists collaborate more or less intensively with people who don’t normally actively engage in the arts.

The term relates to artistic activity based in a community setting. The term was defined in the late 1960’s and spawned a movement which grew in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Often community art is based in deprived areas, with a community-oriented, grassroots approach. Members of a local community will come together to express concerns or issues through an artistic process, and this may involve professional artists or actors or musicians.

Community art is often seen as the work of community arts centers. Visual arts, music and theater are common mediums in community arts centers.

“Creativity is dangerous. We cannot open ourselves to new insight without endangering the security of our prior assumptions. We cannot propose new ideas without risking disapproval and rejection. Creative achievement is the boldest initiative of mind, an adventure that takes its hero simultaneously to the rim of knowledge and the limits of propriety. Its pleasure is not the comfort of the safe harbor, but the thrill of the reaching sail.”
~ Robert Grudin, The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation

The journey toward our beauty is a magnificent struggle. Achieving an integrity between what we believe and how we live is a challenge worthy of the gift of life. A thousand obstacles stand between our selves and the honoring of our truth. A thousand distractions. (A thousand ego-generated delusions.) To dive down, find the beauty, nurture it and offer it to the world is magnificent. Staying with your beauty, your truth, your integrity is difficult, but out of these things comes meaning, and meaning is all-transcendent.
~ Roderick MacIver in “Journal Notes.”

Thanks to art, instead of seeing only one world and time period, our own, we see it multiplied and can peer into other times, other worlds which offer windows to other lives. Each time we enter imaginatively into the life of another, it’s a small step upwards in the elevation of the human race. Consider this: Where there is no imagination of others’ lives, there is no human connection. Where there is no human connection, there is no chance for compassion to govern. Without compassion, then loving kindness, human understanding, peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, and the isolated can turn resentful, narrow, cruel; they can become blinded, and that’s where prejudice, holocausts, terrorism and tragedy hover. Art–and literature–are antidotes to that.
~ Susan Vreeland

“In a time of mass shootings, refugee crises, and environmental degradation it is hard to speak of the need for art and creativity. One wonders what, if anything, they have to do with changing the heart-break of the world or serving a greater good than personal growth and pleasure. Yet why is it that those who would control and bully us feel threatened by musicians and artists and poets? How can we envision a better way if not by searching deep within the imagination and stirring creative reservoirs into a provocative, life-giving “re-presentation” of the world and our place in it? It seems important to tap these wellsprings for the sake of our own souls’ transformation. But it is also time to send these creative energies out into the world because we are in desperate need for resistance, for saying no to death and destruction, for boldly setting forth an agenda of life and love and respect. That these works are beautiful and inspiring and authentic is what arrests attention, what causes people to listen and see, to stop and think. We need soulful media, less rhetoric and more poetry, less shouting and more music. Photographers would say their draft is all about capturing the light. And we are all desperately in need of light. Annie Dillard speaks of the art of writing: “Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?”
~ Arts Reflection by Bob Sabath, Friends of Silence e-letter: July 18, 2016