Writing A Song That Matters: Stony Point Center Welcomes Dar Williams

The internationally acclaimed folk singer Dar Williams has been writing songs that resonate across generation, religion, gender and sexual identity for over twenty years, drawing inspiration from the Hudson Valley where she was born and still lives. This July she will bring her lessons home for a workshop called "Writing A Song That Matters” to be held at Stony Point Center.

 

Williams has recorded nine studio albums, clocked in almost 2,000 gigs, and has enjoyed teaching at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival song school, Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch and in conjunction with concerts at many schools. Teaching an undergraduate course about music movements and democracy at Wesleyan University renewed Dar’s faith in the importance of making music and also in the intrinsic, life-affirming value of creating songs, a process she is excited to be sharing in her neck of the woods.

 

“Writing A Song That Matters” is a workshop for anyone that wants to write a song that counts: for ourselves, for the people (or pets) we love and for the world. Songs can be funny, heavy, catchy or sappy. Participants will be encouraged to look for ways to say what they really want to say. Although the retreat at Stony Point Center is already full, there is still space to register for her next retreat to be held at the Omega Institute in July.

 

"We could not be more excited to welcome Dar and her fellow songwriters to campus," said Stony Point Center General Manager, Paula Sandusky. “We love to host music groups at SPC, and we hope that ‘Writing A Song That Matters’, following in the tradition of Music for People, Bennington Chamber Music Reunion and SummerSongs, will galvanize a continued practice of empowering radical songwriting and music appreciation at Stony Point Center."

 

 

Interested in writing your own song? Learn more at www.darwilliamsretreat.com. And look out for more music retreats at Stony Point Center!

 

DarWilliams

Maya Horton: "Pattern Recognition"

Artist-in-Residence Maya Horton Displays "Pattern Recognition" Exhibit

IMG0 6058Closing her 4-month sojourn at Stony Point Center, artist Maya Horton unveiled a collection of sketches, reflections and sculpture using found objects from the Stony Point Center grounds and other sacred places. "Pattern Recognition" is a visual journal and a small cross section of this notion that the part contains the whole, on both the physical and metaphysical plane.


“We humans are poised between microcosm and macrocosm, containing one, sensing the other, comprehending both.”

"You can recognize a deep truth by the feature that its opposite is also a deep truth."

~ Dr. Frank Wilczek (Nobel Laureate in Physics)


IMG1 5892My art process is informed by a curiosity about the patterns and cycles weaving the world’s microcosm and macrocosm together, and the stories that are narrated and lived out in the space “between.” I feel that complex dynamics amongst people and in the natural world are usually expressed on many layers of both time and scale, and that we can learn about an entire system by the way it voices itself in something small and immediate – river rocks that gracefully wear a long geological history on one square inch, a seed that can store the life force of a much larger organism for centuries until it is ready to germinate, heirloom varieties that represent a history of careful selection and coevolution...IMG2 7322

Or on the flipside - weeds I’ve pulled out in ignorance and frustration that have been used ritually and medicinally for thousands of years before this land was “our land.” Insects that remind me of change that  somehow feels both constant and sudden; a recurring dream or archetype from the Tarot that slaps me awake at an opportune moment. A single individual who enacts the stories and beliefs of five generations before them. The same individual who votes desperately because they are addicted to opiates and the shrinking definition of whiteness no longer includes them. The dialectical push and pull of power and social perimeters. The seed that sleeps in the soil and waits for the moon to pull. 


PATTERN RECOGNITION is a visual journal and a small cross section of this notion that the part contains the whole, on both the physical and metaphysical plane. I believe that attention is a powerful force, so I wonder if by giving attention to details within a picture that seem to be unseen or underestimated, we can actually move energy towards a place of holism where contradictions can exist side by side, where our understanding can wrap around the arc of subjectivity from one deep truth to its paradoxical counterpart. At the very least, illustrating the natural world in an archetypal way has become a window for me to grapple with the discomfort of these contradictions and the mystery of the unobservable, because somewhat like working in a garden or community of people with vastly different backgrounds and faiths, it requires me to step outside of my own story and into another that is both equally likely and unfamiliar.

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IMG4 6584When I first moved to Stony Point I was surprised and vaguely unsettled by the hundreds of black vultures circling overhead and perched in trees, completely silent except for the snapping of branches bouncing back into place when a group (a committee!) took off from tree to sky. The more I learned about them and began to notice them whenever I was outdoors, the more urgent it felt to consider what it means to have a culturally inherited fear of creatures whose bodies are the sites of converting waste into energy, neutralizing poison and creating space for new life. What is the significance of vultures’ lacking a bird call, a voice, in a matrix that desperately needs them for balance?IMG5 6670

Drawing these vultures became about exploring shadow, looking both inward at old blueprints of limiting patterns and attachments, and outward at the deeply shaded realities coming to light in November - December 2016. In studying these birds, I was less interested in literal parallels than the archetypal dynamics and stories that crop up in terrains where change is focused on the political - rather than spiritual and relational - level. My critique is not of individuals acting from lack of resources, but for the institutions and narratives that encourage division, individualism, and create an illusion of scarcity that keeps us emotionally removed from what is at stake when we alienate one another over surface differences. 


Works from this gallery were inspired by the song lyrics of Laura Stevenson, the writings of Martin Prechtel and Rowen White, and the insights of theologian Ruby Sales (On Being podcast, 9/15/16). Much gratitude as well to Dorit Netzer,  Maggie McProud, Nicole Esclamado, Annika Ozinkskas, Anne-Marie Reynolds, and all the brilliant teachers and mentors who have expanded and shaped the way I think about power, ecology, and story.

IMG6 6041 2I also wish to thank the staff and community members of the Stony Point Center:

~ For providing a beautiful space and making the privilege of a gallery possible;

~ For inspiring a balance between action and self reflection;

~ And for sharing their thoughts and experiences in ways that fueled my process into something much more meaningful than it would be without their wisdom.