Monday, March 19, 2012

From IAM-Cooperstown to IAM-Otsego


Some years ago I began thinking about founding a branch of Makoto Fujimura's International Arts Movement in Cooperstown, New York. Mako and I were the artists on a national working group hosted by Yale Divinity School, and I soon knew a good deal about IAM and its evolution.

For several years afterward I had lunch with like-minded people to talk about an imaginary IAM-Cooperstown. Various ideas for an IAM chapter were discussed; in Cooperstown, our nearest IAM chapter is a book club, and chapters in cities and countryside take many forms. We had some great lunches, but nothing happened because we were all busy with many other things.

Last summer a few of us finally acted; seminarian Emily Hylden and IAM-Cooperstown co-sponsored a six-part series on religion and art that took place at the Parish Hall of Christ Church in Cooperstown. Yolanda Sharpe, Ashley Cooper, and I each gave a talk and read from or showed our work as part of the series of six speakers.

After that, we subsided again. After all, we were still busy.

But now IAM-Otsego (we're looking a bit farther than Cooperstown) is beginning to coalesce. I'm afraid it firms up slowly, like an extremely thoughtful pudding. 

Currently we envision ourselves as a "salon" chapter of International Arts Movements with a goal to create a community of professional artists in a rural area, help and support one another, and contribute to our larger region.

IAM supports the chapters with advice and information, and welcomes all members to its annual conference.

IAM is a cultural movement dedicated to inspiring all people to engage their culture to create a more good and beautiful world. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) IAM presents lectures, performances, exhibitions, screenings, projects, and workshops. Our programming and resources equip the creative community to generate good, true, and beautiful cultural artifacts: sign-posts pointing toward the “world that ought to be.” Through understanding the culture that is and looking toward what could be, we hope to rehumanize our world.