February – Monthly letter

by Geoff Hall on March 1, 2011

Mentoring support for those involved in word,
 image or performance arts

February 2011.  The Group’s 10th Anniversary!!!

Dear Arts Mentoring Group, 
February was the 10th Anniversary of the Arts Mentoring Group, aka The Group! In February 2001, things started to form, as we became aware of art students who were the victims of discrimination from secularised art colleges, simply because of their spirituality. (It seems we only tolerate the things which we agree with!)

A couple of weeks ago I was at my spiritual director’s home in Taunton, having lunch with Jeremy and Sheila. I passed a comment that we ‘cannot be an artist alone’, in splendid isolation as it were and Sheila said “We cannot be spiritual alone, we cannot be fully human, alone.” This I thought was pretty profound, as our whole notion of spirituality is actually one of connection, to God and to others, through the epistemology of love.

It is essential if we are to move our work from being personally expressive to culturally formative. Art practice in isolation is what one philosopher, Hans Gadamer, has called ‘a private conversation’. If you are lucky you may overhear some of it, but the meaning or meanings of it will probably remain a mystery.

Somewhere in the body of work, which over the years Calvin Seerveld has written, he said something like – I think the number is not meant to be prescriptive – that our artistry can have a cultural impact if we have a community of 85 arts practitioners, which will also include publishers, gallery owners, writers, academics and perhaps I should add a more contemporary element to it, record label owners and filmmakers who understand the communal dynamic of art-making!

It is at this point I’d like to welcome Johannes and Birgit Manz, to our growing community.  Johannes and Birgit own a gallery in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany. I particularly thought God was behind this connection, as Neustadt is in a wine-making region of Germany!  Aspekt Galerie is a new initiative and we are looking forward to working with each other in the future. You can check out the gallery via a link on the AMG blogsite (Links Section). Chris and I are planning a trip to see them. It is amazing what can grow from a simple Tweet!

At the last Tree House, we had presentations form Sarah Trigg of Trigger Editions, Chris Lorensson of Upptacka Press and James Bragg & Tony Silcock of Intense Music. As we mature in faith and worldview certain things are happening and we need to embrace this development; participate in it, learn from it, but also allow it to inform our practice as musicians, writers, dancers, artists etc. It is then that our work will move to the culturally formative, it is then that we will mature in the sphere of our influence; it is then that a truly spiritual character for our work will be cultivated.

What good is a writer without a publisher, an artist without a gallery owner, a musician without a promoter or label behind them?  I simplify of course, but you get the drift. If we are truly committed to cultural transformation, we have to be connected to one another. There is no ‘going it alone’ in spirituality, in artistry. To be fully human, one has to be fully connected.

The next Tree House will have a visual arts focus, but I hope we will all come to be a part of that social vibe which the Tree House gives us. (This is scheduled for early May, venue to be confirmed).

Peace and Love to you all,


The Tree House was a real blast. Thanks to everyone who came along to support some great initiatives. I’ll be emailing you shortly with new developments on that front.

One comment

Ah, cool! I found a quote in 'The Surd of Sin and Joy', wherein Seerveld writes about 72 scholars and artists. So it takes less than we thought! Perhaps he mentioned this again in another context. My book search continues!


by geoffh on March 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm. Reply #

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