For this year's 6th Annual Shambhala Arts Festival, the coordinators decided to have mini contemplative art "courses" and offerings instead of an art exhibit. I enjoyed the event immensely. The Festival was opened with a Kyudo shot (archery)...beautiful! We moved on to contemplative viewing practice.. refreshing to fully see the art in front of me and leave the ideas about it behind. It was interesting to hear others' responses in the sharing exchange, some in line with what I felt, some adding a new view. This will be fun way to see art in museums or galleries in the future. (As as side note, a similar idea is being initiated by the Slow Art Day movement.) Food tastings were interspersed in the day's program...letting all the senses be present. Have you tasted, I mean really tasted, a chocolate covered strawberry? The sweet, astringent, tart, creamy, juicy flavors intermingling in that one bite! So rich. Also in the program were musical offerings, object placement and more..all to allow us, the participants, to have a direct experience of art in everyday life. It was a wonderful day.
Some of you know that I have been taking Shambhala Art classes. So what is Shambhala Art? It's "purpose is to explore the creative process and the product we call art, from the viewpoint of a meditative discipline. It is a viewpoint that encourages us to see things as they are, rather than just how we think or imagine they are." The classes include a 5 part exploration of processes (of which I have taken 3 levels), as well as specific art forms including flower arranging, photography, calligraphy, and archery. I find I can appreciate the creative process more fully if I begin from a clear and present place. I am better able to listen to that intuitive voice guiding me as each work unfolds. Meditation is part of my daily practice, as is art making, so it wonderful to be able to link them together.
"Our message is simply one of appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle of thoughts and fears. " - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche