Anyway, the festival is run by a small core of dedicated and creative staff and about 1,500 volunteers. This year our creative director opened the volunteers' pre-festival welcome event with a 'blessing' written by the late great philosopher/priest/poet John O'Donoghue. The words struck me as an encapsulation of much of my motivation in life and in making art:
May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work
You do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those
Who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden you.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams,
Possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.
Some of the Greenbelt faithful have spent months wrestling with a definition of its approach to art and what art is. Greenbelt has now published this quite interesting 'emerging artistic vision':
WHAT IS ART?
AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION...
Imagination is more than the impulse to create. It is the ability to see something that is not there, to plan, to hope, to empathise. Politics, social outreach and theology are all rooted in the imagination.
So, of course, is art. And we believe that...
ART IS DIVINE.
Creativity and imagination have their source in God and point us back to their source.
ART IS GIFT.
Not a product, but an expression of meaning that is invaluable.
ART IS LIFE-AFFIRMING.
Helping is feel more fully human, awakening us to our true value.
ART IS EFFECTIVE.
Communicating and connecting in ways words cannot.
ART IS JUST.
Challenging the status quo, cutting through convention, subverting power.
ART IS TRANSFORMATIVE.
Personally and communally, building identity and well-being.
ART IS COLLABORATIVE.
Participating is as important as the end result; art is a shared experience.
ART IS TRUTHFUL.
Enabling us to create meaning, connecting our stories to other stories.
And what we believe about art, we believe about ideas too.
We programme both.
We cherish both.
We celebrate both.
Art and ideas.
Acts of the imagination.