Course: The Bahá’í Faith and the Arts (2022)
Faculty Mentor: Anne Perry
Editor’s Note: We published Enid Probst’s Learning Self Assessment for this course in the September 2022 Newsletter, and a brief report on her participation in the 2020 course: Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees in March 2021. Her collection “Journey of the Soul” is currently on display (until December 29) at the Johnson Center for the Arts, in Troy, Alabama. We are very pleased that her efforts continue to bear fruit.
The course The Bahá’í Faith and the Arts has impacted every area of my life. I am an artist (visual and music) but saw, through the course, how I had not been integrating the arts into my Bahá’í activities. It seems the floodgates have opened. For example:
A family art night has been developed for my neighborhood. There are three of us on the planning committee (I am the only Bahá’í). We have partnered with the neighborhood library and host the art night every other month. We incorporate Bahá’í quotes and principles into the activities. The ultimate goal, as stated on our flyers, is to generate conversations about possible programs in the neighborhood, such as children’s virtue classes, middle school service projects, and adult gatherings. So far, the effort has been rewarding.
A partnership with the neighborhood YMCA has resulted in an art camp for the YMCA’s after-school program at a neighborhood elementary school. The art camp lessons use the arts (visual, storytelling, music) to teach the unity of mankind and other divine virtues.
The Montgomery, Alabama Bahá’í cluster has partnered with a local book store and hosts a quarterly “fireside”. I was invited to give the next fireside (January) on the topic of the Bahá’í Faith and the Arts. The fireside is advertised city-wide.
On a more personal level, I am incorporating Bahá’í quotes and concepts more visibly into my work, specifically a gallery exhibit for 23 works, each paired with a quote from the Writings. In the artist talk for the exhibit, I discussed the importance of the quotes and the spiritual journey that we are all on. My final project for this course included nine of these works and quotes.