Sunday, July 28, 2019

the guild...

In 1976  I'd joined a weekly meditation group  in Springdale, Arkansas that was attended by several of us, almost religiously each week. We would pile into a vehicle and make the trip one hour in each direction. In a mid-week private visit, the group leader mentioned that our city of Eureka Springs was a crisis waiting to happen, and that the Chinese symbols for both crisis and opportunity were the same. He suggested further that crises, often arrived when the right people were ready to seize the opportunity to put things right.

I drove home, wondering who the right people were, and how they might be better prepared to take leadership when the time came. What occurred to me was that the artists were obviously the right people, as they more than others were deeply affected by the beauty and environmental quality of the area. We were like canaries in a coal mind. I was left with the question of how I might assist in preparing artists for the role they might serve?

The answer to that question came when I picked up a copy of the Times-Echo, Eureka Spring's weekly newspaper. It contained an interview article with Henry Menke, an artist who  owned an art studio on the highway east of town. Henry mentioned that Eureka Springs did not have an art guild, but with as many artists as we had in town, there should be one.

That suggested a path toward preparing artists for leadership in our community. A guild would be the way in which we might practice for service and further assert the importance of the arts in the future of Eureka Springs. Failing that, it would at least allow the artists to know each other.

I decided to call a meeting at which we would form a guild. To do so, I walked around and visited with a few artists and told them that an organizational meeting to form the art guild would be held on the shore of Lake Leatherwood that night. About 15-20 people showed up. We all got chiggers from the experience. For those who've not had a case of Arkansas chiggers, I have no way to describe the agony.

I was acclaimed president at that meeting because I was the only one who had a notebook upon which to take names. That was the start of an organization that served for 20 years and that was eventually closed to form the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

The photo is of the epoxy section of the table with embedded stones. I'm now almost ready to turn the table top over to work on the underside. It is so heavy I'll use the tractor and two strong friends.

Make, fix, create, and assist in the restoration of the arts as the center of community life.

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