• July 24, 2012

Sacred Art is a Friendship

Renee Kurz’ O Ignis

By Amanda Savino, who attended the artists’ retreat on July 1st at the ICCC

Many people would say that art is a soli­tary thing — that art is some­thing expe­ri­enced and cre­ated when one is alone, shel­tered from noise and dis­trac­tion. During the Artists’ Retreat at the ICCC, I found that art is an act of friend­ship. Fr. Paul’s talk on Sacred Art gave me a new per­spec­tive on the pur­pose of art. I love this quote by Fr. Marie-Alain Couturier , who was the sub­ject of Fr. Paul’s talk: "The task of Christian art is a twofold one — to serve the glory of God, of course, but also to serve our neighbor." Fr. Paul’s example of Matisse’s chapel as Sacred Art in friend­ship was both beau­tiful and inspi­ra­tional, and it showed how some­thing so lovely and pure and glo­ri­fying to God can come about by friend­ship.

Then came Renee’s dance, enti­tled O Ignis , pro­viding the visual aspect of Sacred Art. Even the very way she chore­ographed it was in itself an example of art as a friend­ship, as her dance was inspired by a painting. Though I didn’t have the painting to com­pare with the dance, I could visu­alize that Sacred work of art through her graceful move­ments: bending and winding, twisting and turning, weaving and curving. Her move­ments seemed to serve us and beckon us to serve.

Spending the rest of the day amongst dif­ferent artists was an amazing expe­ri­ence. I was in the com­pany of musi­cians, dancers, visual artists of all kinds — all of us becoming friends through the bonds of artistry and cre­ativity. We shared our tal­ents with one another, and I was struck by all our gifts and how we all came together as a com­mu­nity of artists. Sharing Mass with this com­mu­nity was espe­cially moving; the beau­tiful sim­plicity of our space and how each of us added to it was an expe­ri­ence unlike any other. Taking part in the Artists’ Retreat showed me how the Sacred Art that each one of us cre­ates is meant to be shared in love and friend­ship.

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