“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline, but is, rather, the lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” (Glenn Gould, pianist)

In his book Music Quickens Time, Daniel Barenboim writes about the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he founded with Edward Said to help create a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. In both music and art, dialogue is such an integral part of expression that its cultivation is crucial for the building of a more loving, peaceful world. It’s not that music and art can bring peace, but that both the world of sound and the world of image are capable of creating “the conditions for understanding without which it is impossible even to speak of peace.”

Music and art are two among the many on-going dialogues we have over the course of our lives. Whether with people or issues, the beauty of the arts in life’s dialogue is that they teach us to see and not merely look, to listen deeply. This is especially important when we’re faced with the unpleasant, painful, or perplexing. Music and art help us to negotiate the gnarly aspects of our lives; they bear us up, help us to pay attention, change what we can, and love what is.

For the exhibition Imaging the Sacred Art of Chant, artists were asked to select a chant, and create images of wonder and serenity, passion, or peace. When I began chanting, it was easy to be open and transparent with the spirit, yet harder to be open with other people. Tending to the broken places has allowed me to see the fragility we all share, and to remove a few of the bricks in my wall of defenses.

Shining light on the issues that disrupt our love and bringing our most loving selves to the community is the work of becoming the serenity and peace we seek. In his book Music and Imagination, Aaron Copland writes: “This never ending flow of music forces us to use our imaginations, for music is in a continual state of becoming.” Our becoming is made possible by our experience and our quiet, patient work with the spirit.

Henry David Thoreau wrote “Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” May we look deeply, confident in the gifts we have, and not let fear keep us from stepping out of our comfort zones, saying “Yes!” in our dialogues. May we see ourselves as the encouraging angels we are.

“This is the gift that God holds out to us in this season: to carry the light, but also to see in the dark, and to find the shapes of things in the shadows.” (Jan L. Richardson, in Night Visions)

Ana Hernández
Musician, Composer, Workshop Leader




LIST OF ARTISTS: Sandra Bowden | Kathy Bozzuti-Jones | Sheila M. Conner | Jim Curtis

Gary Dicer 1 2 | Gerard DiFalco | Gary Gorby |  Linda Witte Henke 1 2 | Maxine Hess 1 2

Chuck Hoffman + Peg Carlson-Hoffman 1 2 | Linda Hunter | C. Robin Janning

James A. Mangum | Pat Merriman | Michael Noyes | RJ Powell | Philippa Sibert 1 2

Nancy Leachman Stoller | Kathy Thaden | Lisa Thorpe | Diane Walker | Carol Ann Webb

Deborah Wenzel | Diana Whiteley | Virginia Wieringa | Elta Wilson