The IAMCultureCare Newsletter is getting a revamp!
A Note from IAMCultureCare
We have some exciting news to share with you!
This monthly IAMCultureCare newsletter is getting a revamp and transitioning to a new era of Culture Care community development, with contributions from YOU (more on that below). My name is Jacob Beaird, and I have been working as assistant and Creative Officer to IAMCultureCare’s founder, Makoto Fujimura, and his wife Haejin for the past nine months. I am a musician by calling and education with a degree in Music History & Literature from Wheaton College. With Mako and Haejin, I look forward to this next season of fostering Culture Care community.
First, we want to thank Molly Wicker, who has provided many years of editorial work and contributions on this forum. Please join me in wishing her well on this next journey of her life. We look forward to hearing from her periodically in the future!
Be on the lookout for a survey in the next few weeks. We would LOVE to hear about where and how our community is working for culture care around the world, AND what you would find most helpful for that community going forward (ideas for the future, contributions to this newsletter, resources that might be helpful, etc). Additionally, we will be inviting contributions from you all! Whether that is art, music, Culture Care short essays, “news from the front”, or anything else, start thinking about what you might offer to bless our global community!
More to come soon…
A Note from Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAMCulture Care
Hello to Culture Carers all over the world,
When I first heard of Molly Wicker’s name, it was on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. As a Grove City College student, she wrote a piece called “A Conservative Christian College Protest of Mike Pence”, which spoke wisely into the issues of cultural malaise in politics and identified key issues that objectively provided reflection. One line stands out today, some five years later. She wrote then — “Perhaps Mr. Pence can still break away from the chaos President Trump has cultivated.” How prescient! Her Op-Ed was an impressive, healthy, fruitful entry into the debate. This is exactly what Culture Care can do, I thought, to stand in the gap of Culture Wars, mediate faithfully, stand for your convictions and to “mend to make New” as our Kintsugi language goes.
I contacted her as she was seeking a summer job after graduation and I invited her to manage the IAMCultureCare Newsletter, but I also wanted her to “grow her wings” as a writer. As she was moving to Washington D.C. that summer, I wanted to see the growth challenges from the viewpoint of a young gifted writer navigating the sweltering heat of D.C. and the Culture War-torn land of politics. What resulted was a collection of essays worthy to be developed as a book some day, memoirs of our dark era, a voice of a young college graduate journeying into her first post-graduate job (“unglamorous”), managing new social networks (including meeting neighborhood dogs and the celebration of ordinary meals), and capturing faithfully the darkness of the Pandemic era. Molly captured ALL of our journeys in some way, documenting the fragmentation and malaise of our hearts during the shut-down.
As we move forward, as Jacob has noted, we are making this newsletter dedicated to you, and by you, and the greater movement of Culture Care around the globe. Please contact us if you have a story of Culture Care you would like to share on our future newsletters.
Yours for Culture Care,
Mako Fujimura, artist and founder of Culture Care movement.
- Refractions: A Journey of Art, Faith and Culture (NavPress), my first book out of NavPress that introduced the idea of Culture Care, is being edited with new essays for a 15th anniversary special issue. It will be out next year.
- Continue to be updated on (almost) daily Culture Care thoughts and news on @iamculturecare on Twitter/X and Instagram
- Fujimura exhibit in Nashville!
October 12, 2023 — March 31, 2024
Bradford Gallery, St. George’s Episcopal Church
4715 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205
The “My Bright Abyss” paintings and “Van Nuys” monotype prints series came out of a period of severe darkness seven years ago. I was in a deep lament for a series of losses that suddenly compounded in my life. In light of the partnership between St. George’s Church and Covenant School for this first major Nashville exhibit of my works, I felt it appropriate to title this exhibit and my elegiac paintings after Christian Wiman’s seminal book of suffering of the same title.
“My God my bright abyss
into which all my longing will not go
once more I come to the edge of all I know
and believing nothing believe in this.”
- Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
A Culture Care Soundbite from Jacob
I have recently been thinking about the English Renaissance composer William Byrd. Readers may be aware that 2023 marks the 400th anniversary of his death, and he is featured on countless concerts and recordings around the world this year (some exceptional highlights include recordings by the Gesualdo Six, Fretwork, or The Sixteen).
While Byrd found relative financial success during his lifetime (he was appointed to a lifelong salaried position in the choir of the Chapel Royal and in 1575 granted a national monopoly on music printing with his colleague Thomas Tallis), he also lived as an artist seeking to make sense of his faith in a deeply divided religious landscape. In fact, Byrd was forced to withdraw from many of his public positions following his conversion to Catholicism later in his life. Today, we recognize many of his important contributions to the Anglican and secular music repertories of the English Renaissance, but perhaps his most powerful pieces are his Catholic masses and motets, nearly all of which were composed in secret for private use. Byrd’s commitment to artistry and his faith regardless of the dangerous political implications and lack of public recognition is an example to us all.
I leave you with a beautiful recording of his motet setting of two verses from Isaiah 64. Ne Irascaris is a lament by the Jewish exiles in Babylon for a desolate Jerusalem, yet it held a double meaning for Byrd and fellow Catholic “exiles” in England. Poignantly, the last line of part one is a cry for unity that we can echo as we seek to tend the gardens of our culture: Ecce, respice, populus tuus omnes nos – “Behold, we beseech you, we are all your people.”
- Restore NYC’s annual Freedom Gala honors IAMCultureCare’s founder, Makoto Fujimura, and his wife, Haejin Shim Fujimura, for their work with Embers International. Haejin is the CEO and co-founder of the global anti-trafficking NGO and Mako serves as Artist Advocate.
- This month’s cover image is Wassily Kandinsky’s 1920’s painting Composition No. 8, featured in Maria Popova’s reflection on John Berger and the power of music. The geometric forms and shapes may have been inspired by music; Kandinsky is famous for his synesthesia.
- Disability in the art of Horace Pippin, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- On Beowulf, and Border-Stalkers by Karen Swallow Prior
- Watch Mako’s live painting in Chelsea, NYC, in collaboration with percussionist Susie Ibarra (video taken two years ago by Haejin, that has had over 90k views!)
- Alan Jacobs writes on about literary critic Karl Kroeber, Nabokov’s Lolita, and literature as fostering emotional maturity
- Powerful footage of the double rainbow that appeared above NYC on the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on the Twin Towers