Art & Soul is a multi-disciplinary forum for weaving together the arts, spirituality, community building and social justice. Art & Soul's purpose is to create nurturing yet provocative experiences where people from many different life experiences can reflect on, engage and share with one another through the vehicle of creativity about the things that matter most to them and to our common life together on this planet. I believe we are deeply hungry for personal and communal stories that connect or re-connect us to our best, most creative, compassionate humanity. There are common human stories we need to tell and hear that so often are not being told, and we rarely create time and space to connect to these stories.There are so few safe places in which to share ourselves fully with one another and experience being heard and listened to. Art & Soul creates nurturing space to share these stories in the understanding that sharing stories builds community and is often healing, transformational even, both personally and communally. Art & Soul does not look just one way. It is a portable creative forum, responsive to what is happening in our communities, our nation, the world. It offers regular bi-weekly and monthly sessions for reflection and art-making, but it could also be a creative community conversation around a particular subject. It could be an impromptu art-making session in a public place. It could be a series of classes exploring a certain theme through various creative means. It could be the opening of the Story Suitcase at a meeting or gathering where people are invited to tell their stories. It could be a public art installation. It could look like an on-line series of creative reflections. It could be the creation of a personal ritual of transition. Art & Soul uses all kinds of materials: natural objects, found objects,, fabric, words, photographs, pictures, papers, video, slides, old texts, whatever feels appropriate to the setting and inspires memories, feelings and responses. Founder and facilitator, Susannah Crolius has always been deeply informed by the arts, having attended a performing arts high school for dance, being active in community theater and having a perennial love for poetry and pottery. Art & Soul officially came into being in June 2013, after receiving a grant from the Loaves and Fishes Fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. However, the idea for it had been incubating for several years prior to the grant. At the time, Susannah was serving a congregation in Michigan as a United Church of Christ minister. Feeling unsatisfied with "traditional" forms of worship, Susannah sought creative ways to make Sunday morning worship come alive and rediscovered her passion for--and the power of--the arts to tell meaningful stories in new ways. She began to experiment with worship that was "out of the box." In December 2013, Susannah left parish ministry to develop Art & Soul. Art & Soul is not confined by a singular expression of spirituality. While Susannah remains deeply informed by her Christian faith--its texts, ritual, language, symbols, prophetic calls to justice-making and expansive, inclusive hospitality--Art & Soul is inspired by the rhythms and practices of all kinds of spiritual traditions and wisdom. Art & Soul has no "religious agenda." Its purpose is to create nurturing, exploratory space for all people to discover, connect, share, listen, reflect and act. Art & Soul collaborates with several partners: artists in the community, libraries, therapists, university faculty, faith leaders, and community groups, and is eager to talk with others who share its vision.
Profile Type: Cultural Nonprofit
Art & Soul