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.