Cracks Festival

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The first Cracks Festival is just a few days away.  Helping to plan and organize it has been a 14 month journey of creativity, inspiration, and nail-biting stress.  But that’s all over now; now the fun begins.

Its hard to believe that a casual conversation in a church hallway last year has turned into this one-of-a-kind event.  It is going to be an amazing weekend.  If you haven’t got your tickets, HURRY UP!

Check out the concerts and the workshops and the worship, then buy your tickets here.

Don’t miss it!  It really  is going to be great.

The SpiritArt Mission

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The SpiritArt Program has a clear mission and goals. 

 Our mission is

  • To provide a safe and welcoming art space.
  • To offer programming that nurtures spirituality and inspires hope, creativity, growth and healing though artistic expression.
  • To build and nurture a sense of community and connection through programming.
  • To provide a structure which will sustain connections made and to provide ongoing opportunities for support for people in their spiritual journeys.

There are many great schools and studios in Ottawa offering instruction in the arts ranging from dance to drama, from painting to poetry.  If your goal is to improve your technique and learn from an expert, then you’ll easily find what you’re looking for.

But if, on the other hand, your goal is to grow personally and spiritually through your art, to connect to the Source of life and to heal your wounds by using your imagination and creativity, then your options are fewer.

Our Mission at SpiritArt is to offer precisely this kind of artistic exploration; art-making that leads to spiritual growth and a sense of  community, the kind of imaginative exploration that focuses on the process rather than the product.

We believe that the creative arts provide one of the best possible paths to growth, healing and healthy community.  Why? Because when we engage our imagination in creating something new, something that doesn’t yet exist, we are – by definition! – open to learning and growing.  And because, when we are learning and growing we are more likely to find the strength and resources we need to face our hurts and pains and overcome them.  AND because, when we’re using our imagination, we are – almost by definition – HAVING FUN!

And fun is something too many of us have too little of.

That’s why SpiritArt has a clear mission and goals that set it apart from most of the other arts-based organizations in the city.

 

Partnerships: the name of the game

Here’s how we define our Mission at Faith&Arts Ottawa:

“to engage people in deepening their spiritual lives by offering arts-based spiritual growth programs to the Ottawa community, and by creating a faith community of people committed to sharing their lives with one another. “

We have employed many art forms in pursuit of this mission: journaling, poetry, creative writing, music, sculpting, drama and more.  As we have grown our programs we have met a lot of wonderful people who share the vision and have offered their own gifts in partnership.

Like the amazing congregation of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Sandy Hill who have turned their former chapel into a fully equipped art studio and are partnering with Faith&Arts Ottawa to create the SpiritArt studio and SpiritArt program (www.spiritartprogram.ca).

Like Eleanor Crowder and Anna Lewis, two of the principals at the Bear & Company Theatre company (www.bearandcompany.org) who led our ‘god Monologues’ verbatim theatre project back in the spring of 2013.

And now, like Jonathan Harris and the good folk of the 9th Hour Theatre company (www.9th-hour.ca) who are partnering with us to create a remarkable piece of original theatre called “Grain of Salt.”  More about that later, but for now we are delighted to find kindred souls at 9th Hour, who define their mission this way:

“9th Hour Theatre Company exists to creatively engage the art of storytelling in order to explore, examine and express themes and questions of faith and spirituality, including the person and characteristics of God.”

With a Mission so closely aligned with Faith&Arts Ottawa’s, the only surprise is that it took over a year for us to seek one another out and begin collaborating.  Now that we have, and we are, you can look forward to lots of engaging, spiritually challenging theatre in the years to come.

The Creator’s Sacrifice

“The Creator’s Sacrifice” is a cycle of 17 paintings that tell the Easter story as imagined by Ovide Bighetty, a self-taught Cree artist from northwestern Manitoba who paints in the Woodland Cree tradition. They are remarkable for their colour and vibrancy. 

Take a look at this Kisemanito poster, and you’ll see what I mean.

All 17 paintings will be in Ottawa for a two week exhibit, March 23 – April 6th, at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Sandy Hill. For anyone interested in the intersection of spirituality and art, or aboriginal art and Christian spirituality, this show is not to be missed.

Here are a few links for more information:

http://www.reformingrelationships.ca/?q=content/artist

http://ocrcampuschaplaincy.org/kisemanito/

http://www.facebook.com/Kisemanito

The Soul’s Language: Creative Writing as a Spiritual Practice

“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”

Anna Quindlen

Everyone is looking for something: security, adventure, peace, excitement, wisdom, love. We look all around us for the things we need. We look to nature, to people, to technology, to art, to God. But some things we cannot find outside of ourselves, no matter how hard we look. There are some questions that can only be answered from within. Most of us know this, instinctively, but we don’t know how to do it. How, exactly, do we turn and look within ourselves for the answers we cannot find in the world around us?

Anna Quindlen, and most every other author, might say, “by writing.”

Writing – thoughtfully, creatively – is one of the great spiritual disciplines, often overlooked because it has become so common-place and is used for so many other, less profound, purposes. So, please join us as we reclaim creative writing as a spiritual practice. Faith and Arts Ottawa is about to offer a four-week creative writing workshop, open to anyone who is interested in exploring how writing can be a path to connecting to the sacred within. Here are the details.

THE SOUL’S LANGUAGE: CREATIVE WRITING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

WHY: Our lives are so stressful and full of activity that little time remains to connect with the voice of creativity within (our essence). Spiritual practices free up our internal voice so that our lives become more grounded and centred.

WHAT: The practice of creative writing (including poetry) can reveal our fullest capacities of heart and mind. This four-week workshop explores a variety of activities for accessing your most intimate and unobstructed voice. It is open to anyone who would like to explore writing/poetry as a path to connecting with the sacred within.

WHEN: Four Thursdays, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, November 15 – December 6, 2012.

WHERE: Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue (Bank and Aylmer) in Room 5.

Registration fee is $50.00 for the series (or sliding scale). To inquire or register: info@faithandartsottawa.org or http://www.faithandartsottawa.org.

Here’s a link to a poster with more information: Creative Writing as a Spiritual Practice

Welcome

Hi, I’m glad you found your way here.  Welcome to the web home of Faith and Arts Ottawa, a newly formed mission of the United Church of Canada that brings spirituality and creativity together through imaginative exploration of both Faith and the Arts.

Every human being has an imagination, but most of us don’t exercise it as fully as we could.  That’s too bad, because we miss out on a lot of fun, and a lot of learning.  Creating something – a story, a poem, a song, a video, a photograph, a play, a pot, a dance, whatever – is a great way to learn new things, especially about ourselves.  When we open up our creativity, we open ourselves to what is new and surprising, we never know just how a poem is going to turn out until it is done.

That openness to the new and surprising, which is the heart of creativity, is also the heart of spirituality.  It is both playful and profoundly serious.  We will be exploring the intersection of spirituality, faith, creativity and the imagination on this blog, and in the programs and events sponsored by Faith and Arts Ottawa.  You’re welcome to join in.

“Between religion’s “this is” and poetry’s “but suppose this is,” there must always be some kind of tension, until the possible and the actual meet at infinity.”
Northrop Frye, The Anatomy of Criticism.