Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Creative Communities and Active Culture: At the Crossroads of Performative Competence and Social Change (part 1). A public conversation


In song and motion

Lee checking in about her rehearsals.  Marc has questions. Jeremy and friends getting set up for tonight’s event with the Open Center.

I’m off for a planning meeting of our Palestine film series.

I’ve actually managed to come up with a flier for tonight, based on who will be here:

Are you an artist?
Is your art an expression of your spirit?
Do beauty and justice go together?
Does your art affirm life?
Are art and community holy in some way?

Let's do it!
We are interested in finding a circle of artists who would be interested in coming together to explore in a lab setting what could be new experiences of  ritual/liturgy/shared performance in the context of a building with a deep and rich spiritual and social history. Open to the deep roots and flights of fancy, free to move where the spirit leads…

If you are interested, please leave us your information:

Name__________________________________  E-mail____________________

Discipline __________________________

The Center at West-Park:  Dream. Real. Hard.
West-Park Church:  Just. Love

When I arrive, the program is already in full swing. The deep and low songs of the African diaspora American south filling the front of the sanctuary the singers moving back and forth and towards one another  in an ever changing yet coherent circle. I’m happy to see all my Dzieci friends have joined in as well.The singing and movement goes on for nearly an hour and a half. Mesmerizing. Stirring.

Jeremy, Lloyd and I do brief introductions. Mine includes the socio-religious- artistic history of the church. Including my interest in the intersection of beauty and justice, ethics and aesthetics.

Then we broke for food and conversation.

What a series of conversations I had. These included:

* A young Mexican accordionist with a grant to develop theatre on the border and his dramatic dancer partner
* A young Ukrainian who is part of a choir who also collaborates with a Georgian choir that sings ancient church music who is interested in fundraising for displaced persons in the Ukraine. And who also was a volunteer with Bread & Puppet
* A couple working with Native Americans in choral and theatrical work, finding a group of Lenni Lanape, the original people of Long Island.
* A woman from Chile, doctoral student at Columbia working with indigenous people in the rain forest of Ecuador.
*Several dancers and choreographers
* Several clowns and puppeteers
* An accountant
* People from Italy, Brazil, Germany, Latin  America, eastern Europe…

ALL seeking a community in which to pursue spirit led ritual, community, spiritual and social transformation...And to my flier, I received 14 responses from the 50-60 gathered. I feel it was an important and good night.

Obviously what is needed is good follow up, but this illustrates that there is a market for the church and center we could become. All were here for the first time and all came as a result of word of mouth or social media. If done right, a revived church and center can come into being.
Kind of night that brings hope.

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