May 14th, 2020
I'm still smiling after our RiverArts Salon experience with Rebecca Hoffberger from the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) on Tuesday evening! As one of our attendees said: "What an astonishing session and what a privilege to have her all to ourselves for such an intimate conversation. Her spirit is such a light against the darkness of this time."
Rebecca told enchanting stories, suggested inspiration for art-making during this time, and shared all sorts of recommendations on books to read. We recorded some of our time together and will let you know when we can make it available for all to see.
I loved how Rebecca said that dialog is the "art of how you share yourself," and that there is "art in the noble question." I can't wait to see AVAM's current Earth-inspired exhibit when we can all safely visit, and appreciated Rebecca's insight that their exhibits "blow on the embers" of a person's soul as they "pour the exhibition through the filter of their self."
As the weather warms and we are able to spend more and more time outside, remember to slow down, notice things that you might normally overlook, and remember our connection to the natural world.
I'll leave you with this quote from William Butler Yeats that Rebecca shared with us:
The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
Peace, Love, & Art,
Ann Farley, ArtsAlive Director
I took this picture on a family hike at Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area. I only now realize the "alligator" in the picture (the log & its reflection) are an example of pareidolia!
Everyone left our discussion with Rebecca with big smiles on their faces.
How appropriate that AVAM shares this sweet & easy craft on their website.
At our Kinetic Sculpture Race event every year, we hand out these smiles to the spectators in the crowd. Now, you can spread one, too.
When Sandra Willett Jackson, one of our RiverArts board members, asked Rebecca about inspiration for us to use as we make artwork during this time, Rebecca suggested we think about "What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in nature?"
Some of our Salon participants shared stories of exquisite sights and encounters in nature. And then Sandra shared this with us via email:
One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in nature … and there are many … is the morning dew or rain drops that shine on my large, hardy Hosta leaves, and then start their journey, pulled by gravity, down the leaf and toward the stem to the end. A couple of years ago I just had to write about this journey. My poem is below and may seen relevant not only to Rebecca’s approach to and love of nature, but also to life in the time of COVID-19.
A Journey, A Life
The sparkling drop of morning rain
That early woke green hosta leaves
Has made her path to mid-leaf growth
And catches now the noon-day sun.
Brilliant rays break prismed light.
This kaleidoscopic color drop
Bursts full of dancing energy
Then travels pulled by gravity
In grooves of wrinkled, bending green
To the end point of her leafy trail
Where again she shines in finality
Like a well-cut diamond.
-Sandra Willett Jackson
Thanks to all who shared their examples of pareidolia with us! Turns out many of us were already very familiar with finding faces in tree trunks, animals in clouds, and fairies in flowers - we just didn't know there was a word for this!
Read more at:
Learn about artist Pat Bernstein & her pareidolia work
The first person to email the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org gets a shout-out in tomorrow's email.
What famous Broadway star did Cate Blanchett portray in the 2004 film The Aviator?
Join the craft renaissance and cope at the same time.
Laughter is good medicine!
Directions here for this fun craft from The New York Times.