You probably have grasped by now that for me, our art is our work-in-the-world; our work is our art.
And, while we’re using our gifts to create our art(s) in the world, there are invitations everywhere to support others in their own creation, and a million ways to do it. Subscribing to blogs is one. (Thank you!)
Engaging with people regarding their work-in-the-world is another: expressing gratitude, offering ideas and helpful critiques, sharing stories, purchasing goods…These things affirm for us that the paths and means we use to express and share gift–whether through media, or classrooms, or hospitals, or stages, or the offices and workshops we’ve chosen for our creativity to gestate and be born–are producing goodness that touches others positively. And, as I’ve said before: all of us are artists, using our gifts for our own welfare and the higher calling to serve our communities.
And, in the current iteration of our world, the exchange of our gifts is also valued with the exchange of capital to support us and others in our basic necessities and the means to continue our work in the world. Paychecks are given in exchange for our energy, our gift.
We have always paid for what we value; now, we use “money” in the form of cash, paychecks, honorariums, grants, fundraisers, pledges, donations…Other people in other times bartered with goods, or provided shelter and food for traveling artists, or benefactors provided income to support them. Wherever two are gathered, there is quid pro quo because, at the root of it, that’s how both love and justice work, the give and take of gift, trust, community, and relationship. (The ways the values of our offerings can be skewed and thrown out of balance are apparent everywhere and the subject of books and wisdom not my own.)
It’s hard to ask for money. It is not hard at all to ask for support. The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet has become a metaphor for me of all artists in the world, which is to say, for how we are all artists in the world.
For over 15 years, this band has united in creating their vision of music that speaks to a variety of populations and listeners all over the world. They’ve struggled financially, like so many artists, to remain committed to their vision, co-create their art, and viably support their families while doing so. They annually, prior to Covid-19’s restrictions, took interested fans on a cultural trip to Peru to immerse them in the people, food, arts, orientations to mystery/beliefs, history, and indigenous depths of the country and the Afro-Peruvian roots that color all of these gifts.
How many artists take such time and make such effort to unite their community of fans with the origins and meaning of their art? I think it’s remarkable and, because of this, and my own co-creation with these talented artists, I support them willingly and have frequently mentioned them as worthy of your consideration for support as well. They are not only joyfully gifted musicians; they share their gifts in every community where they perform, often spending several days working at schools with young musicians developing their art, freely creating a legacy of gift with their energy.
The band has just held a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds in order to produce their new album, Social Distancing, and have a new 48-hour only “stretch goal” which, among other treats, will feature contributors in their first-ever music video.
If you’re able to donate $30.00, you’ll be asked to create a selfie-video reciting my poem, “In the Time of Pandemic/And the People Stayed Home” (Please use the version linked, as there are others still incorrectly circulating.)
You’ll also receive 2 tickets to the band’s virtual concert (January 29) marking the album’s release, and be invited to an after-concert Zoom session to meet and chat with the musicians. Phillip and I attended a concert this past weekend and I can’t tell you how much fun it was: fantastic musicians performing in our living room, while we had a glass (or two) of wine, the dogs and cats by our sides, a fire burning…amazing. I may have danced a bit; happily, the cameras are not two-way.
It’s a LOT of a value for $30.00, if it’s something you can manage. I will look forward to seeing others’ videos reading/reciting my poem and how they’re integrated with the music video!
Thank you for all the ways you respond to the invitations to offer, co-create, and support gift/art/our work-in-the-world. We need it more than ever. It’s how we make light to see in the dark.
Here’s another link to the Kickstarter stretch goal. Have fun; be safe and well. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/afroperuvianjazz/the-afro-peruvian-sextets-social-distancing/posts/3035415?ref=ksr_email_backer_project_update_registered_users
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