- What are the travel directions and parking?
For general directions and parking information for the chapel, here's a google map. Please note that for the shows the chapel has a small side-lot that is for quickly dropping off and picking up items only on the day of the show (Carl is there from about 3:30pm on). There just isn't enough space for everyone to park, we wish there was, so please plan for time to find parking based on the directions. Some people find parking a few blocks away and walk, like at the corner of Kirkland and Beacon past the side of the chapel, or on Broadway a couple blocks southwest, or Mass Ave to the east and north of Harvard Square starting at the Cambridge Common park, or on Mt. Auburn on the other side of the square going west toward Mt. Auburn Hospital, or other local streets with meters and/or obvious parking allowed signs. There are parking garages near Harvard square - many people go there to have dinner and come back for the show. If you're dropping off art before 3:30pm on the day of the show, please confirm with Carl Schroeder that there isn't another event in the way, using email up to the day before or by cellphone 781-254-1611. We like people to drop off art and setup as early as possible, but this is a church and there can be other functions earlier in the day. You could also arrange in the days prior to get your art to Carl, and the chapel has some office hours of its own around midday when you could dropoff something in the office parlor which is normally locked, just let me know to look for it on the day of the show.
- Whom do I contact?
- Carl Schroeder runs most of the show organizing and websites. Email is best for communicating information, so he can have a record of what you have sent. Carl will acknowledge receipt but email isn't perfect, so please keep local copies of what you send and call him if time is short or you haven't heard back.
Cell Phone: (781) 254-1611
Cambridge Swedenborg Chapel website: www.swedenborgchapel.com
- Postal Mail:
Soul Stirring Productions
c/o Carl Schroeder
17 Magnolia Rd.
Swampscott, MA, 01907
And here's a chapel address just to be official, but things might sit around a while so I wouldn't mail there:
Carl Schroeder and Soul Stirring Productions
c/o Cambridge Society of the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian)
50 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138
- What are you doing for publicity?
We work on being findable by the people who are meant to find us. Most notably the New England holistic magazines Spirit of Change and Earth Star get paid ads, and the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, and Improper Bostonian calendars get a listing. Other places you're welcome to suggest and help us with. If all the artists participating in these events additionally notify their own mailing lists, then we should have no trouble in keeping our shows alive and running for appreciative audiences. The basic ad copy for an event is seen in the following example for 2011:
10/8: Spiritual Art and Performance Event, Cambridge, MA.
An evening's presentation of original mystical
art, poetry, story, and song by many local spiritual artists. Inspiration
not to be missed! Admission $5-$10 sliding scale. 7pm-9:30pm, Cambridge
Swedenborg Chapel, 50 Quincy St, Harvard Square across from Sanders Theatre.
Series info and art online at www.soulstirring.org
If a phone is needed, the chapel answering service is (617) 864-4552. There will be posters available at the chapel, which you can pick up any Sunday after the services which end at noon (of course you're completely welcome to visit the Swedenborgian service which starts at 11am). We'll make an online version of a flyer that you can print from the Events page at anytime to help us poster too.
- What kind of spiritual art are you looking for?
Now don't get us wrong; all art is spiritual. People are spiritual, life is spiritual! So with that in mind, we are trying to create an additional structure for the bridging of personal functional sacred art to an outside audience of friends and appreciators. Therefore, here are some ideas to consider:
- Be ready and willing to share something spiritually real and personal for you in a public space. If your work is only about other people, is unspecific, or is too personal to share, then trying to fit it in this show may not be such a comfortable experience for you. Spiritually real means something that connects you with a soulfully tangible and transcendent reality experience, for which the trigger could have been a dream, a synchronicity, a meditation, an exchange of love, a moment in nature, a religious or metaphysical concept, etc. So if we had to break it down, we're probably talking here about a sequence of significance involving a) a mystical trigger, vehicle, or context, b) your own ineffable and profound response experience, c) your expression or documentation of that experience (art showing soul), and finally, where we come in, d) your presentation of the artform to other people (polished and reviewed to be clear).
- Be able to compactly present two things together: 1) an objective aesthetic work, like an expressive piece of art or performance or narrative, along with 2) the subjective connection for what the work means to you in your personal growth. We're all trying to work together here to offer a wide and inspiring sampler for the public to see and feel souls, so there will be some need for both clarity and beauty in the final presentation. Visual art needs to have a typed artist statement or story next to it, and performances need to be prefaced by enough explanation or introduction to orient other people within your experience.
- Be willing to give yourself some credit! You are a creative spiritual being. Art, what is that? What you make of it! Sure, there are some standard art forms, like music, poetry, paintings, and dance. But we're open minded, aren't you? A lot of interesting things may get classified under the storytelling category, just you wait and see... :)
- Be willing to be appropriate to a public event in a humanitarian religious sanctuary. We're not looking for shock or contrast, and no one is being invited to preach or convert to anything. We want material that is thoughtful and caring. The mystical artist does teach spirituality, but in a way that is vulnerably personal. Rather than
trying to provoke a response by pushing other people for a spiritual
reaction, the mystical artist seeks to evoke a response by challenging
themselves to communicate their own mystical experience. The mystical artist
looks to what has affected them, rather than what has affected others, and
this allows souls to respond as they see fit. So have good boundaries, let
people hear you simply and honestly, and seek to reveal your own
inspiration. We invite you to make some friends, relax, feel safe, contribute
something, and enjoy the total experience.
- And oh yes, be willing to do it all for free! These are labors of love, and everyone is contributing generously. Art in service to religion has a long history of course, but if anyone is commissioning you here, it would be your own higher self! A nominal fee is being collected for audience admissions, but we'll be putting it back into the shows even in the unlikely event that it covers the many costs, such as of advertising, creating this website, posters, show materials, building fees, etc. Let the joys of exposure and friendships you make here be your reward! That's our attitude. Plus you are welcome to promote your career, see Can I bring things to sell?
- Do I need to be professional?
Nope, just be pretty good, and confident enough to share the stage with other inspired amateurs and professionals. Everyone is unique, so that's the beauty of these shows, there's no right or wrong. Just check in with yourself, and practice a piece. If your soul says this is the right time for you, then the energy will come and you'll know, and you'll do just fine. If not, another time, but it was worth the check-in with yourself, don't you agree? Either way, don't forget to practice a piece if you're gonna give it a try.
- Do I need to be of a certain belief system?
No, just be yourself! Your true self, which is joyously tuned into its own growth, and not particularly concerned about what others might or might not find credible. You know you're there when you're neither defensive nor confrontative, but just beaming and steady with something wonderful to share. Feedback is available if you're having difficulty organizing and expressing the ineffable - that happens, ya know. See the Resources page for more ideas and support.
- Can I drop in or is it only scheduled? What about returnees?
The shows are almost entirely scheduled, but we're open to some spontaneity too. If you are a potential future contributor or a returning artist, you are always welcome to bring a painting to display, poem to share, or an instrument to play, as time and space permit. We're not adverse to filling every open space with visual art, and people have been known to jam around the show and during intermission. If someone cancels a scheduled stage performance at the last minute then we might even need a full pinch hitter. If you let us know you're coming with a little something under your arm, we'll slip your name into the program so people can know that you're around.
Returning visual artists will keep getting listed on the website for the shows they'll be attending, so they can keep bringing paintings to sell, as much as they can carry beyond the one or two new sample works that we'll hang after the evening's new featured artists are given first space priority. Returning stage performers are encouraged to let us know when some time has passed and you have a new act or special reason to reschedule.
Thus we do make room for drop-ins and visiting returnees, because we want to let things flow and see more synchronicities happen. But if you're ready to be a fully featured artist, you'll want to be properly scheduled and get on the website, so see below.
- How do I audition?
To be honest, we're still working on this whole series concept. We're clear that we don't want a totally open-mike approach, because we want a good amount of preparation and expectation so as to be fair to everyone. In the beginning, we relied on friends and connections to fill performer slots, but that doesn't mean that we're trying to be exclusive. If you don't know us and we don't know you, then sure, some sort of audition would be in order. See what you have to offer, and get in touch with us by mail or email, see contacts below.
Please be aware too that the whole concept of these mystical art talent shows is catching a lot of people's imaginations quickly, so while we'd love to present everyone sooner or later, if we don't have a slot for you it doesn't mean that we don't appreciate your stuff. Maybe this will become a quarterly or semi-monthly event, who knows.
- What kind of space do I get?
Okay, let's get down to details. In keeping with the idea of a soul stirring sampler, we are asking for stage performances of about 12 minutes or less, and visual art that basically fits in a 3 foot high by 6 foot wide display area per artist. If you have larger or special requirements contact us first. Note that these parameters are for the featured artists who have not been in a show before; concerning drop-ins and returnees, see notes above.
Nothing is ideal here, but it is sincere! What we have is a beautiful Gothic stone chapel in Cambridge Mass., with seating for just under 200. There's a small stage area in front and some microphones. A nice tracker organ on the left, and a grand piano. Sound space here is nice, and is often used for classical concerts. Be tolerant of some audience noises though too, since it's a small intimate setting.
On each side of the chapel are 5 pairs of windows under which we can hang art rather nicely. The space is something like 6 feet wide and 3 feet high, so that can accomodate one very large painting, two medium size paintings, or several smaller pieces. An alternative could be one large or two medium size foam core boards on which you've arranged several light-weight drawings or color xeroxes. We can tape some artist bio and statement pages that you bring beside your area. There are also possibilities for hanging tapestries or larger works from higher up, or displaying sculpture or fragile pieces on tables, so let us know what you've got. In general, visual art should be fairly public-proof so people can walk by, so have art under glass, or with smooth stable surfaces, or just show color xeroxes if you're really worried about any touching.
There is some space for your promotion materials too, see next FAQ.
- Can I bring things to sell?
Sure! We are assuming you'll be tastefully informative by promoting your spiritually oriented projects with flyers for your classes, displays of your books, tapes, CDs, cards, etc. We'll set aside some table space for such things, particularly in the reception parlor where refreshments are served for people to network during break and after the show. Just please take full responsibility for your own materials. We encourage everyone to learn what each other has to offer, so feel free to be assertive and proud. And if you sell a painting or land a gig, great! You don't owe us a commission. We'll just appreciate whatever donation you feel comfortable with to help keep these shows going strong.
- What materials do I need to supply you with?
- After scheduling to be in a show, we will be needing from you:
- What can be said to summarize your work? Some words are needed to succinctly describe your brand of poetry, song, storytelling, ritual/dance, theatre, or visual art (those are the categories we list at the top level). We will use your description to list you on the website, in the evening's program, and to introduce performers during the show. For example, "Kalyani Devajyoti = visual art: drawings and paintings from dreams and Mother Nature", or "Carl Schroeder = songs: singer songwriter on guitar, songs for spirit friends, melodies from dreams". Beyond this, stage performers will be responsible for introducing their presentation with explanation of their activities and spirituality. We won't do a lot of talking and buildup so as to maximize your time. And for visual artists we will bring printouts of the bio and statement that you send us for your webpage (see below), or you can bring your own to mount next to your art.
- What do you want on the www.soulstirring.org website under your name? In addition to the description for your kind creative work (see above), we are *also* looking forward to providing every contributor with their own permanent homepage. This way, networking and opportunities can begin before each show and continue long afterward. Let's raise the spiritual visibility of our area together, for Boston artists and beyond! So as soon as possible you may email us with your bio, images, lyrics, stanzas, excerpts, links, statements, product info, color/design requests, and whatever else you want to permanently share on this website with visitors - hopefully directly related to what will be seen at the show. We'll then organize your materials as best we can into the kind of format we've got going (see example links on the Artists page). Clarify a contact for the public such as an email or phone; if you prefer, we can even do mail forwarding of email@example.com to a different email that you already have, such as something at hotmail.com. You can't hold us responsible for how long our site domain will remain up, though our intent is that it be for years! We can scan materials if you want to mail something or drop it off at the chapel in Carl's mailbox, and we'll return it at the show. Copyrights will be respected, and the site is designed to make image downloading difficult. The site will support the direct addressing of your webpage as "www.soulstirring.org/artist.pl?firstname_lastname". For an example, see the page for artist.pl?carl_schroeder
Do you have a preference for order in the program? Performers, if we don't hear from you we'll use our intuition for when to put you on. In our experience, some considerations might be; someone with a beautful song or prayerful poem may wish to start the show, those whose energy flags may want to go on early, someone with an elaborate costume may want to go first in the second set to give time to dress, and someone with a great summary act may wish to go last. Let us know what you think. You can refer to the Events page to see who else is performing that evening too.
Then on the date of the event, performers please show up at least 15 minutes prior to show-time, so we can all know you're ready to go. See Cambridge Swedenborg Chapel for directions. Carl will be at the chapel for at least a couple hours before show-time, and visual art needs to be ready to hang by 1 hour before showtime. You can drop by with your visual art that day between 4:30pm and 6pm, or earlier if you contact me first (please note for 2011, there is a wedding until 4pm so we must be setup efficiently after they leave by 4:30pm). There is often someone around on weekdays to receive a dropoff if you call first at the internal chapel number which is (617) 864-4552. Or you can definitely drop your pictures off on a previous Sunday after services which end at noon (of course you're completely welcome to visit the Swedenborgian service which starts at 11am). There's space to lock up your artwork safely, so don't worry - we can't be held financially responsible for anything but we'll do our best too. Similarly, you can pick up your art after the performance, or the next day or another Sunday after noon, and you can alert us to arrange for these issues.
And until the show date, don't forget to help us publicize for everyone's benefit, see above!
- How else can I help?
- Hmmm... besides helping to publicize (see above), how about bake some cookies? Or supply any other goodies for after the show, for the reception and socializing time. Thanks!