Tribe House Blog

Summit

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Posted : October 29th, 2011 by

After an unbelievable gathering of about 40 artists from BC, we are all trying to wrap our minds around what just happened at the very first TribeHouse Summit. We gathered a few people together to share their perspectives & input on all kinds of topics but mostly based around the arts, faith, and justice. Everyone’s perspective of our time was varied but it was packed full of emotion, inspiration, discussion, frustration, and all kinds of reactions depending on what topics were brought up at the time. As someone so elegantly put it, “It was an emotional roller-coaster – it was like getting married, giving birth, having an affair, and getting divorced all at the same time”.

There were a couple of “all-artist-open-mic” times as well which were packed full of secret talent where artists were sharing their songs, stories, poetry, flutes, books, paintings, dances, videos… Madness, in the best sense of the word.

Here’s a quick blurb from Carrie Harper on what she pulled out of it. “What does it mean to be part of a community when you’ve been solitarily struggling through life. I’m not good at connecting and collaborating, it usually gives me a migraine. Somehow things are different now and my yellow brick road is on a trajectory toward Loving and experiencing people. I have real friends, a team and I realize when I look back on the last couple of years that I’m not alone anymore.” (feel free to visit Carrie’s blog here.)

There is so much to comment on but we figured we’d post this great summary by Jane Eamon of the weekend which comes from her blog. Enjoy (and yes, of course we’d love to hear your thoughts)…

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Written by Jane Eamon

Today I want to talk about art and the tribe. I was fortunate to attend an artist’s summit this weekend in the beautiful Bo.ttega here in Kelowna. Tribehouse Artist Collective gathered together about 40 artists from all disciplines to spend a day talking and sharing what we do. If you haven’t heard of Tribehouse or Bo.ttega, please check them out.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss collaboration, faith in art, community and justice. It was very interesting and very rewarding. We openly talked about a lot of things and shared our ideas and art.

What does collaboration mean to you? To me, it’s the coming together of two artists with a mind to create something together that both have contributed to. The dictionary defines it as working jointly usually on an intellectual endeavor. How interesting. It also means to act as a traitor.

There was a lot of talk about collaborating across the disciplines. A musician working with a film maker, a dancer with a painter. I think that it’s fairly easy to do this sort of coming together. There is an inherent respect for each other’s art form and a curiousity about what can come of the pairing. It makes for inspiring art and sometimes surprises us with its originality. It’s good to engage in this type of cross pollination. A bit of each ends up in the whole. Kind of like blending colours.

But I asked the question…..what about two artists of the same discipline and degree of skill? Let’s say you put two songwriters together in the same room and asked them to write something meaningful and deep. How deep would you actually be able to go? Would you? Would egos get in the way? No matter how open and honest an artist is, the ego acts as a protection. How would you handle that? Could you?

Faith in art – now that was a hot topic. No matter what your spiritual belief system is, there is some component of the divine in all art. It comes from such a deep place within us that to my mind, it can’t be purely human experience and expression. Have you ever created something that you have no idea how you got there? Call it channeling, call it stroke of genius or imagination. I don’t know. I think there truly is something that works through us that is also outside of us. If you believe in God, your art could very well be a manifestation of that belief. If you believe in something else, it’s still connected. We are all connected. I think we’ve lost touch with that very thing. That feeling like we are not alone.

It was hotly debated. Questioning this that forms us as human beings made people uncomfortable and more than a little vocal. As one fellow put it, “we danced around the issue while dragging the toxic carcass of institutional religion.” Wow. Where does it fit in? How does art translate outside the church? What’s the difference? Do you have faith in your art? Are you coming from a place of deepness when you create? Does it scare you just a little sometimes?

I have questioned myself about this for a very long time. I love C.S. Lewis because he never stopped questioning his beliefs even after he became a Christian. I hope I never stop. I will probably never know what is out there, but it’s enough for me to believe that something exists which is greater than my human existance.

The importance of community. I am and always have been a huge promoter of community in art. I cannot work in a vacuum. I need to have people I can bounce ideas off of, I need to hear and share other people’s artistic visions. My husband and I have always tried to include folks in whatever we’re doing. It’s so important. To us and to the people we share with. It makes us feel connected and alive to know we are not alone. I guess that’s kind of like our tribe. Whether it’s online or in person. It’s valuable and creates momentum in the community at large. We can accomplish much together.

It brought up an interesting side note about the role of the indivdual in a community. There will always be collectors and connectors, I am one. But it got me thinking about the importance of the collective vs. the individual. I believe that the existing business models in art and music aren’t working any more. We need to find a way to change things and change the way we get our art out into the world. That’s where the community comes in. FACEBOOK to me is a very useful tool. So is dialogue and feedback. Supporting our fellow artists in any way we can contributes much to the continuance. We inspire each other, we challenge, we encourage and we critique. It’s all part of the “tribe”. We don’t have to be best friends, but we do have to accept and embrace our community.

With community can also come the power to change the world. Now I’m not talking world peace, but each small collective or hub can do many things. Collectively we can make a difference. Even if it’s only one step or one person, we can change people’s lives. That’s a lot of power. Think about it. By virture of your artistic expression, you can affect the lives of a lot of people. And sometimes, you’re not even aware you’re doing it. That’s a great responsibility. To create art that matters. Even if it’s only to be truthful and honest with your own feelings when you express them, that could be enough.

Calling attention to things that upset you. Or uplift you. Anything. Make it matter. It’s your legacy, it’s what you leave behind you.

We can change things. We have a voice.Well, I’ve talked your ear off – or rather filled up your inbox. I want to say thank you again to Tribehouse for including me in this event. It gave me a lot to think about.

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Jane Eamon writes songs & poetry & lives in Kelowna, BC with her man Gord – they have been a part of building the artist community here for years, long before there was even a thought of having something like TribeHouse. Check out her website to find out more here.

 

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Here are a couple of little video snapshots of the performances throughout the weekend. This first one is a piano tune by Ari Neufeld “I think I can fly”.

This next piece is Bruce Wiebe performing some spoken word & Brian Wiebe working his Ney Flute magic. Find out more about Brian Wiebe & his pottery, studio, and other goodies here at Solar Nest Arts Studio.

 


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