Saturday, February 4, 2012

Art for Water in New York

Last Sunday, I took the Stream of Conscience project to The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York. Joni Doherty of the New England Center for Civic Life at Franklin Pierce University joined me. Before the event, we attended High Mass, which was moving thanks to a professional choir, a children’s choir, an organist, pageantry, incense, candles, and more. Communion was received by many in a huge circle encompassing the altar. The sermon was about the hazards of allowing knowledge to make us overconfident. Great advice! The Cathedral itself upon entering will stop you in your tracks and elicit a gasp, so to experience this service within such a sacred and monumental space was awe-inspiring. It set the tone for a thoughtful exchange about water issues afterwards in the Cathedral House. Thanks to Catherine Skopic for organizing this event, which included lunch, stimulating conversation, an Art for Water slide presentation, and participants sharing their thoughts and feelings about water on torn pieces of paper, which will be used in future Stream of Conscience installations.

The night before, Joni and I discovered a musical event called RiverProject at the Abrons Art Center on the lower east side. Seeing we were in the city for a Stream of Conscience experience, we agreed this was the ticket for our evening. Composer and musician, Eve Beglarian kayaked down the Mississippi River and created an amazing musical tribute to her experience, the people she encountered, and the river itself. Three other musicians as well as another vocalist joined Eve on stage. This outstanding performance included poetry, lyrics and vocals on multi levels, soundscapes, video, and electronics. The majesty as well as the peaceableness of the Mississippi were evident throughout the evening thanks to Eve’s powerful creative skills and the multiple talents of everyone on stage. Joni and I floated away feeling that it wasn’t chance that led us to RiverProject, but that we were intended to experience another artist’s reverence and response to water.

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