Nurturing the Creative Ecosystem
The arts are not just for artists, and cannot survive without a rich ecosystem of people who love them, and love artists. During this weekend we will take a tour of the many facets of the artistic ecosystem that need tending in order for the arts to thrive in a society. We will reflect on what our own roles may be in creating a healthier ecosystem for the creation of works that advance the true, the good, and the beautiful in—not separate from—the contemporary world of the arts:
• The Recipient: why the willingness to encounter art is the foundation of a healthy artistic society;
• The Advocate: the roles of gallery owners, agents, auction houses, and others who represent artists’ work in the marketplace;
• The Patron: the importance of personal investment in art that goes beyond mere purchase or consumption;
• The Critic: how assessment and critique benefit artists and art;
• The Pastor: the role of churches and their leaders in restoring a healthy climate for encountering art.
We will also consider the signs of a healthy artistic ecosystem, and the signs of a stressed and diminished artistic world. We will honestly assess the threats to thriving artistic practice in a world of ubiquitous images and commodities, a world of cynicism and mistrust, a world of politicized communication, and of gnostic, disembodied virtual reality. Our time together will be animated by the hope that far from being too late to restore a thriving ecosystem in the arts, we are on the threshold of more opportunities for influencing and restoring the art world than have been available for centuries. We will leave having sought clarity in our callings, encouragement in our inadequacies, and confidence in our resources to be part of the comprehensive flourishing that only exists when the arts are thriving.
As the name “seminars” signifies, we place a strong emphasis on dialogue and communion, and make time in the schedule for meaningful conversations. The meals we share also allow for more intimate exchanges that often become the basis of lasting friendships. Andy Crouch, journalist and cultural critic, will be our discussion leader. In addition to the sessions he leads, Roberta Ahmanson will give a talk about the role of the patron in the arts. There will also be a panel discussion involving all of our speakers. Ginger Geyer will open up the art studio at Laity Lodge’s Cody Center for those who want to collaborate with her on an art project. Several weeks before the event, we will mail some brief readings to help you prepare for our time together. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to share their own reflections on the ecosystem that sustains the arts.
Art above: Laura Lasworth.