The word went out by mouth, flyer, newspaper, internet, and phone call: the Artists were back in town! OM Arts School of Mission: Incarnate 2014 was about to begin, but first: an open house/reception. We invited the community to come and meet the new students, view original art from the previous school, and enjoy some Italian musicians. Some of the new students and teachers shared their visual and musical art as well. The result? A packed house, a happy crowd, reunions with some connections from the previous school, and a wonderful launch of Incarnate 2014.
Like other cultural universals, the Arts have an intrinsic drawing power; unlike almost anything else (other than a crisis or a family celebration), the arts tug on the heart strings of the imagination. For all that enhances life (at best), or satisfies curiosity (at the least)—by what might be seen, heard, or experienced—the arts are compelling. We experienced the gamut late last Saturday afternoon, as the facility here in OM Italy filled with local people meeting, greeting, and sharing life and art with us. In a tiny snapshot of community, twelve nationalities shared food, ideas, and hearts, around artwork intended to stir the soul.
Dario, a local horn player, had enlisted Dan Mullis, our new Music Mentor, Dileep Ratnaike, our School Administrator, and Satu from Finland, one of our sax students, to help him deliver a fine arrangement of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” This hymn inspired the name of our facility here in Bobbio Pellice: Forterocca. Kirsty, a vocalist from New Zealand, brought a Gospel piece from CC Wynans. Geinene Carson, founder of Artslink, presented a mixed-media piece that she had created 2 years ago. Made from walnuts garnered from the local valley, the piece recalled Geinene’s process upon receiving news that her infant daughter had been born with brain abnormalities. A number of us had tears in our eyes as Geinene's artwork spoke directly into the broken arenas that invade so many of our lives. Bill Drake brought "Sovereign Lord", an original piece from his latest album Broken & Complete. Its lyrics take up a number of themes that speak volumes from the history of persecution, martyrdom, perseverance, and mission that are part of the legacy of the Waldensians who live in these valleys.
Our time finished in typical Italian fashion as any good time in Italy should: with the culinary arts! People lingered well past the posted closing time, in fellowship and interaction as rich as the program had been.