“We are called at certain moments to comfort people who are enduring some trauma. Many of us don’t know how to react in such situations, but others do. In the first place, they just show up. They provide a ministry of presence.” — David Brooks
A Note from International Arts Movement
To look back at my journal during this time is astounding. We live in a world that makes control look easy. Thanks, in part, to the miracles of modernity, most of us go about our daily lives with some semblance of control. We have routines and structures that we hold tight to. Some are self-imposed, but others are imposed upon us by a world that moves at a break-neck pace.
For most of us, living in the midst of a global pandemic is forcing us to slow down for the first time in our relatively short lives. Without the distractions of our daily lives, we find ourselves noticing things we never would have before. I find myself grieving the loss of “normal” life and yearning for the patterns and practices that characterized the time before the world shut down. I’ve also realized I don’t know how to slow down, how to exist in the tension of grief and joy, how to live in a place that seems to be crumbling down around me.
One by one, the pillars of my life seem to come crashing down, revealing my own idols and shortcomings. I can’t concentrate. I don’t call people back. I’m not as productive. The so-called side-effects of the pandemic are widespread and too numerous to number. Psychologists across the country have penned countless articles on the very real consequences of isolation. While I don’t want to discount any of those things (I believe they are very real and I feel them very acutely), I also have to remind myself: this too shall pass. And when it does, what will our world look like? What are the pillars we will rebuild? What roots will we re-plant and tend?
Our culture is at a crossroads. I feel confident in saying that our world will probably never look the same. It’s these moments that form the foundation of culture care. They offer us a chance to literally practice what we preach. In the midst of deep uncertainty, we have the chance to seek beauty and to point others toward it.
A Note from Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care
I am happy to report, in the midst of sadness that pervades our world, IAMCultureCare has launched Hilary Teachout Grants to help performance and other artists in a micro grant. Terry (Wall Street Journal Theatre Critic) has written the following on his blog.:
Part of the havoc wrought by the coronavirus is that artists of all kinds now find it increasingly and fearfully hard to pay their bills and stay afloat. To help them, the painter Makoto Fujimura and his International Arts Movement have launched the Hilary Teachout Grant, an emergency relief grant for performing and other artists. It is named after my beloved wife Hilary, who died on March 31. Hilary’s passionate love of all the arts was boundless — no audience ever had a more enthusiastic member — and it is deeply gratifying to me to know that this grant will honor her blessed memory.
As part of the ongoing fundraising effort to support the Hilary Teachout Grant, my old friend Mako has donated one of his much-admired indigo-ink-and-gold watercolors, which will go to the winner of a lottery open to those who donate $1,000 or more. Needless to say, though, contributions of any size are enthusiastically welcomed. I hope that those of you who have read in this space about Hilary’s long struggle with pulmonary hypertension, the rare disease that finally claimed her life, will consider making a tax-deductible donation.
To make a donation in Hilary’s name, or to apply for a grant, go here.
In the video below, Mako tells more about the Hilary Teachout Grant:
I have been posting updates on my YouTube Channel, and my latest on the word “patron” is a way to encourage artists and donors to participate in this exciting opportunity. Due to an extraordinary demand and interests, we have three times the application for the amount of donations given. So please share this opportunity, and continue to be updated via my Youtube page. The latest broadcast directly speaks to this need, and will be a good link to share:.
“April is the cruelest of months” (T.S. Eliot) to many in New York and New Jersey area due to COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, this challenge has brought common experience to everyone around the globe. Theologians speak of Common Grace (Matthew 5:45 — “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”) but this crisis brought home that common experience can also be a Common Curse. First time in the history of the world (since Noah’s Flood) did we have a crisis that hit everyone on the face of the earth to cause a global shutdown.
For artists, such an experience will be important. Nature is truly groaning (Romans 8) and our art, music and creative expressions can capture that. We can draw inward to describe both the travails of our days, but also cast a new light on the future.
All of the applicants for the Hilary Teachout Grant will receive this newsletter in the future. Let’s stay connected, and reach out to each other to create a global family of creative expressers and catalysts that will tend to the soil of culture together.
Yours in Culture Care,
Notes From the Road
Pete Candler is a writer in Asheville, North Carolina. His current project is a literary-photographic quest along the backroads of southern and personal history in search of the stories that shape us more than we thought. Read and see more at adeepersouth.com
In a famous three-part essay for Esquire in 1936 written during the most miserable period of his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “all life is a process of breaking down,” a series of both external and internal “blows” whose cumulative effect can be destructive of self-incurred illusion. One of those blows for Fitzgerald was the deterioration of his wife Zelda’s mental health, which led to her committal to a sanatorium in Asheville. Holed up in two rooms at the Grove Park Inn, Scott Fitzgerald experienced his own protracted “dark night of the soul,” drinking up to forty bottles of beer a day and carrying on with married women, absorbed in the ever-contracting world of his own troubles. He distilled the intensity of that experience into the trio of essays that became known collectively as “The Crack-Up.”
Read more here.
- What is the role of Christians during the pandemic?
- A light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel… a new novel from Marilynne Robinson.
- Get a glimpse into Mako’s studio during this time…
- Why it’s so important to think about the relationship between our body and mind during a time like this.
- Reading during quarantine… a conversation between the Trinity Forum’s Cherie Harder and Karen Swallow Prior. And some recommended reading.
- A syllabus for the end of the world.
Header Image: Edward Hopper; “Shakespeare at Dusk”, 1935