|The Beat goes on...
The artwork pictured on these pages was created especially for the 2005 HEART of the Community art project and will be auctioned at the Black and White Beach Ball on June 4, at the Atlantic Sands. The theme of this year's HEART project is HEARTbeats, and the 17 artists who created this body of work have each contributed a bit of their own lifeblood, you could say, to keep the HEART alive.
I am always delighted to see all the HEART paintings as they arrive in the CAMP Rehoboth office. Each one is a separate thing, fashioned by loving hands and created to be able to stand alone, yet when viewed as a collection, as a body, we see them in a different light. Oh how I wish I could display them on a single giant wall, as a grid of little square paintings creating a much larger painting made up of many parts.
CAMP Rehoboth is like that, I think, many parts working to make a larger body. Actually, all organizations are like that. The very nature of an organization is the bringing together of separate parts to make a cohesive whole, whether it be the human body, a bee hive, our local churches, or the Boy Scouts of America. It is in our nature to organize, to be a part of something, to seek out one anotherfor safety, for camaraderie, for fun, for communion, for comfort, and for assistance when we are lonely or in need. Also in our nature, of course, is the need to be apart, the need for solitude, the space and time to learn who we are, and how to respond to the organization around us.
I don't know if the world around us is more divided against itself than at times in the past, or nota history littered with the old bones of countless wars would say nobut we certainly live in a time when our differences seem pronounced. In our country alone, the right and left seem to exist in completely different worlds, each listening to their own radio stations, and reading only books and magazines that agree with a particular viewpoint. Globally, ancient differences that harken all the way back to Biblical times still seem to control and shape the world around us. For most of us, it is easier to find those who are like us, and simply forget that not everyone thinks, believes, or feels the way we do.
The GLBT community is not immune from that, of course. The men quite often go one way and the women another. We talk about diversity all the time, and we wave the rainbow flag while we do it, but sometimes I think we don't really want to think about what diversity means at all. A true celebration of diversity means that we honor opposite opinions and welcome difference for the richness it adds to our lives. We aren't frightened or intimidated by other people's beliefs, no matter how different they are from our own. There is a line in a poem I wrote many years ago that reads: "What happens Harlequin/when we move so far to the left/we collide with the right /around a round world after all?"
The funny thing is, when we stop with the rhetoric, and the politics, and the labels, and the stereotyping, and start to live from the heart we find that everyone carries a bit of the truth. The real choice for most of us is not the details of what we believe, but whether or not to be open or closed to the world around us. The real gift that gay people have to offer the world is the ability to make people see from a slightly different perspective. Our very presence in the world requires an opening of the mind, of the eyes, and especially of the heartstarting with our own.
I have wandered, I'm afraid, a little bit away from the art at hand...but then again, maybe not. Each one is a kind of open heart, a single HEARTbeat, a gift. Some of the artists are gay, some are not. All of them are gay in spirit and good at heart. My thanks to all, and especially to my HEART of the Community co-chair and dear friend Sondra Arkin for all the organizing she did on this project.
For a preview of HEARTbeats, join us at CAMP Rehoboth for the HEART artists reception on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, from 4-6 p.m. (Also, see the images below.)
For information about the HEART of the Community art project or the Black and White Beach Ball, contact the CAMP Rehoboth office.
Murray Archibald A Little Love Scene acrylic
Julie Baxendell Heartbeat conte and acrylic
Ronald Butt, Liza Fleming A Lure: Allure mixed media
Rodney Cook Dol-Salt-Wa watercolor on paper
Lee Wayne Mills Sand Castles mixed media, collage, w/gold leaf
Michael Muller douleur d'exquiste du coeur mixed media photo collage
Aina Nergaard-Nammack Dancing Hearts acrylic
Bob Rahamin Rhythms acrylic, gold leaf
Ward Ellinger Synthesis acrylic on paper
Kathy Fischer Quiet Rhythm pencil, charcoal, conte
Gary Fisher The CAMP Koi-Carp with Heart acrylic on paper
Terry Isner The Heart of Rock'n Roll is Still Beating acrylic on canvas
Dale Sheldon Heart in the Sand, Afternoon Musing watercolor
Patti Shreeve Wave polychrome pencil
Michael Weinert Sea Inspired oil on canvas
Randy Wise A RoseTwo Tulips watercolor
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 5 May 20, 2005