Feeding Your Soul Through Art

I recently gave a talk at the Mad Artists forum on Feeding Your Soul Through Art.

The idea for this talk came out of a conversation with potter Suzanne Farrington at the Opera House about feeding your soul through arts experiences.  I got into this topic with her in December at the EOH Holiday Artists Sale…because I was literally high (you know the symptoms…floating on air, just bubbling with good will and energy) from being around beautiful things for so many hours and I began to comment on how I noticed that working at the EOH had a profound impact on my consciousness.

If you are checking out this post, you presumably know why art is important…you spend significant time supporting it with your lives and your leisure time.  I’d like to discuss some of my thoughts about why I feel one should also be aware of how the arts, artists, and the process of engagement are important to understand, especially how the arts impact you on a deeper level.  This argument is not about how the arts improve things in measurable ways…but in qualitative ways that we still find difficult to measure.

My consciousness was first opened to this idea when I discovered Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way right at the Hamilton Public Library.  For those of you who may not be familiar with The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity is a self-help book by Julia Cameron. It introduces the idea of artistic creative recovery – when you are trying to break through to find your creativity or to try to break through an artist block…teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in harnessing their creative talents and skills.

I found this book at the Hamilton Library when I first moved here from Ithaca and it had a profound impact on how I viewed the arts.  I found the author’s emphasis on a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection to be particularly meaningful in working in my own studio.  One of the things that really stuck with me was the idea of filling the well of your soul – replenishing your creativity – with something the author calls…artist dates that you create just for your self

They are fun.  They are enjoyable.  They are nourishing because filling the “well” is an important part of maintaining our creativity.  It counts whether your creativity is artistic or channeled in other areas too.  I firmly believe that as a businesswoman, I use this deep well of creativity for problem solving too.

My own life now is full of arts on so many levels that I can see how deeply it impacts my own soul.

Certainly the arts touch the soul –

Love of beauty

Love of love

Love of harmony – keeps our souls alive

And Love of humanity and its struggle – and this last one can stretch the limits of what we think of as art

Yet all embrace that arena that we call soul

What we see as beautiful fills us with delight and joy

In many cultures the artist is considered a bridge to the divine (Joseph Campbell)

In our own culture with its secular elements the arts often explore humanity and its confusion – contemporary art can also confuse some of us with more traditional tastes– being more about a joy of process than what you sometimes end up looking at!

So if we see the arts as a playground of a healthy soul it might make what we are doing at the Earlville Opera House – a multi-arts center seem relevant – expanding the arts for our community.

For many years the EOH has been expanding it’s programming to become what is called a Multi-Arts Center: in other words a hub of focus on several fronts in the realm of the arts.

Here are some of the nourishing events that we have coming up…

CURRENTLY IN THE GALLERIES for its last week…KidsART – truly one of the most nourishing arts experiences ever / Shift – conceptual plays with light and dimension – kind of like the Twilight Zone / then Wonders of Africa…juicy colors

COMING UP – you may want to mark your calendars

May 4 7:30pm Treasures of the Heart Showcase: Pamme Swan, Rabbit in the Rye, Tumbleweed Highway, Caitlin Grossjung  – this joint fundraiser will raise awareness of hunger in our community while celebrating our arts and music.

May 11 Mother’s Day Tea & Fashion Show 2-4pm EOH is definitely feeding your soul at this event…especially if you have a sweet tooth!

May 11 – David Jacob Strain with Bob Beach on harmonica Dirty Linen sums him up: DJS sings and plays slide-driven country blues with a passion and authority that few artists of any age can muster. But besides firing off compelling covers of traditional tunes. . . his original songs have served to update and evolve the idiom, winning widespread respect from the contemporary blues community.”

June 1 Loren and Mark stunning guitar duets influenced by Bluegrass, Jazz and Country with thumb-picking techniques pioneered by guitar greats Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, and their songs feature Loren’s superb vocals and some beautiful harmonies from Mark. Won 2011SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Awards) for Best Album

June 8 Joe Louis Walker Blues Band – nominated in an unprecedented 4 categories in The Blues Foundation’s 2013 Blues Music Awards! JLW will be inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame this year!

June 9 Sun 3pm matinee Voices of Tabernacle – the community chorus will choose selections in “I Hear America Singing.”  The theme honors our New York’s Path Through History weekend.  Special guests will be the Sherburne-Earlville High School Chorus.

June 15-16 Hugh Humphrey’s production of Spoon River Anthology – Hugh is bringing his own adaptation to the stage in which the citizens buried in the graveyard of a fictional Midwestern town (Spoon River) talk about their lives, their failures, their loves, their philosophies, their triumphs, their conflicts, their secrets, and their crimes.

June 21 Fri Leo Kottke – Master guitarist…one of the greatest guitar players of the last 50 years

New: June 29 Genticorum ~ Award-winning Powerhouse Québécois-Celtic

July 6    Sweetback Sisters – “vocal harmonies that recall the best of country music from the Everlys to The Judds, combined with spirited rockabilly. Their songs mine the traditional subjects of heartbreak, revenge, remorse and staying strong in the face of relationships gone wrong!”  “… a renegade retro band that mixes up country, swing and honky tonk,”

New: July 19 Jesse Lege & Joel Savoy Trio ~ Fiery, Soulful Cajun

July 20 Kim Simmonds/ Savoy Brown – “One of the earliest of British blues bands, Savoy Brown, with founder guitarist Kim Simmonds at the helm, helped launch the 1967 UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the USA invigorating the style forever. In the process, the band became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970’s. Their influence now stretches into modern rock as we know it today.”

New: July 27 Suzy Bogguss ~Grammy and CMA Award-winning Country Star

August 3 Dar Williams – “a major force on the New England folk scene. A songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few sharp and at times hilarious twists.”

August 31 Labor Day Eilen Jewell “With a burnished voice lingering somewhere between Billie Holiday and Neko Case, Eilen Jewell’s aching vocals are pure, country-gospel, box-car soul.”

September 21 FullSet – outstanding young musicians in a 6 piece band from Ireland – Winners of the “New Group of the Year” in the Live Ireland Music Awards of 2012, and also “Best New Band” in the Irish American News Music Awards last year.

October 5 Claire Lynch Band brings EOH award-winning bluegrass.  “Claire Lynch, without doubt, has one of the most beautiful voices in the music business.”  Her red-hot band sparkles with virtuoso musicianship!

Sunday, 12/8-9 David Leonhardt Jazz Group:  this artist is truly engaging and our goal is to open up many souls to the Jazz ARTS with three programs:

JAZZ for Kids / “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Holiday Jazz Concert/ JAZZ for Seniors   For example:  “Jazz For Kids” is a performance presentation designed to introduce children to jazz music and the use of creative improvisation in rhythm and melody.  Audience interaction and participation is encouraged through singing, clapping, scatting and body movement.  More soon!

Come on down to the Opera House…there’s plenty to eat at least on a soul level.  So much to do and it’s all good for you!

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