“And the garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new mercies.” — The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgsen Burnett
A Note From International Arts Movement
Spring is here! In Virginia, this means immediately abandoning all of my winter sweaters and long pants in favor of shorts and t‑shirts, even if it means that I freeze part way through my walk. An act of beautiful hope, choosing to believe that the weather will warm up, even if my toes are cold.
I don’t most people realized just how long (so very loooonnnggggg) the month of February was. The pandemic accelerated many things, but not the pace of winter. We slogged through, each and every one of us. I made a goal for myself to walk every day, no matter the weather. I bundled up and walked. I logged a lot of steps. Most days, I listened to podcasts, discovered by accident or recommended to me by friends. I put one foot in front of the other and listened to different cultural commentators talk about how our world would never go back to normal.
On one hand, I found it deeply comforting. To know that the discomfort and pain I felt as everything around me plunged into the unknown made me feel better. On the other hand, I yearned for some normalcy. Some degree of routine to make me feel as thought the world was not crumbling around me. And so I kept walking. Multiple times a day. Sometimes long, sometimes short.
I realized one afternoon, standing on the corner of 6th Street and N. Jackson, that my walks were made possible by this pandemic. The ability to stop and slow down. To not run. To smell the flowers, slowly pushing up through the hardened soil, to appreciate their beauty. Normally, I would be in an office building. Hurrying from one meeting to the next. To be sure, for many people, the pandemic has merely made things feel more frantic. Their jobs are busier than ever. But amidst that, I think most people have also discovered a unique opportunity to stop and slow down. To really appreciate spring as it makes its triumphant entrance. To breathe deeply after a hard spring storm and almost taste the drops on your tongue.
This world is not our home. We know that. But while we are here, I want to spend my time noticing beauty and truth and goodness and reflecting upon it. To that end, we want to hear from you! What have you noticed in this season? What is bringing you joy? Email me and tell me! We would love to feature your responses in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.
Until then, take a walk.
A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care
As I write this my wife Haejin and I are revamping Kintsugi Academy. First, Haejin has agreed to be an interim President of Kintsugi Academy (!), which is great news as her staff at Embers International will also be part of facilitating the growth of Kintsugi Academy. We will be focused on creating local workshop groups, in hopes that such groups can become Culture Care hubs in the future. As soon as we are able to share our revamped plans, we will be sharing with you. If you are interested in being trained as a local leader, please email her!
With vaccination roll out, small Kintsugi gatherings will be an ideal way to journey into the New together. I have been gratefully overwhelmed by the responses for my new book “Art+Faith: A Theology of Making”. Having slowed down my social media presence for Lent has meant that I have more time to read, paint and write, as well as learn to dance with my bride. Since we decided to close the Pasadena studio in Feb, we have been dreaming out our future plans for Fuji Farm in Princeton, NJ. You will be updated on my May exhibit at Morpeth Gallery, an excellent local gallery here.
With Beeple’s incredible accomplishments, NFT (non fungible token) has become an iniquitous term of late, and we are creating a Culture Creative cohort group to learn how this might impact lives of artists. All I can say is — it’s great news for content makers to do what they do and to make that creative journey sustainable! We will be sharing more about this new opportunity for all in the upcoming newsletters. Meanwhile, check out Stephen Proctor, Joshua Clayton and Erica Anderson’s offerings.
Malcolm Gladwell, at the beginning stage of the Pandemic, astutely noted a shift in culture. He notes that the traditional way of a cohesive society has been to create “Strong Links Society”, in which the limited number of powerful and wealthy influencers can dictate the future of society. “Weak Links Society”, rising out of our times, is in contrast with the Strong Links Society of the past. The Pandemic, and various other social factors including the power of technology, have now created a Weak Links Society. Instead of the traditional model of having the few powerful institutions to protect that power, and defend it for an enduring legacy, we have seen the “weak links” of Amazon deliverers, nurses and teachers becoming the most “essential” for society’s success. Gladwell compares the former to soccer, and the latter to basketball. In Soccer, one weak link in the team can result in a loss, where in Basketball, if you have a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James, you are going to do ok. We have turned our attention, in that sense, to the weak links of society to find thriving.
Culture Care is the Weak Links antidote to Strong Links Culture fighting Culture Wars to protect their power. This process is played out in the process of Kintsugi, where mending to make New is not by hiding the flaws and fractures, but by accentuating them with gold. The resulting “fruit” of a Strong Links Society may look perfect on the outside, but are full of hairline fractures on the inside: The “fruit” of a Weak Links Society will shine gold despite, or especially due to, the fractures. May our journey into the post-Pandemic world be marked with our movement of beauty and mercy — may the Light through the Cracks shine through us.
Blessings from Princeton,
- “The Bible encourages us to pursue fellowship and worship in ways that maximize our humanity rather than highlight the more efficient or convenient aspects of a person.” — Joe Holland, The Church in the Digital Age
- A time for weeping and a time for rejoicing…
- The Japanese art of repair.
- We know ourselves by what is reflected back at us.
- Mako joins our friends at The Weight Pod to discuss how the power, mystery, and depth of art drive us to ask deeper questions and ponders the ways art can liberate us in our cultural context.
- A conversation with The Scala Foundation about how to engage in culture.
- Culture Care podcast wrapped up its first season. Listen here!
Header Image: personal photo