Course: The Four Valleys and the Hidden Words: An Arts Perspective (2021)
Faculty Mentor: Peggy Caton
Editor’s Note: Sarah Cruz took the course The Four Valleys and the Hidden Words: An Arts Perspective and found her ability to appreciate and do art expanded tenfold. The course has inspired her to take the arts to her friends and to junior youth.
I accomplished my major objectives in the course The Four Valleys and the Hidden Words: An Arts Perspective! Most of the time, I have been mentally gentle with myself, and this team has been loving, supportive, patient, and creative beyond measure. The unity in this class has been so beautiful and helpful. I have also felt, seen, and shared in posts the divine confirmations that have happened on this journey. I have shared the concept of the art salon in my monthly art devotional, and shared about this course with other Bahá’ís that I am close with, especially the friends that have attended the devotional. I have not added more content to my website, but I have kept creating.
My posts in the course have ranged from a scribble to a collage to a sketch to a description of a dream to a photo, and I am surprised and proud that I did not limit myself as an artist/learner to the one or two mediums that I have traditionally been better at or more comfortable with. I have tried digital art once, and hope to continue exploring that route. I have also improved in my ability to closely look at others’ artwork and share what I see and feel in it, offering another level of perception and understanding to myself and hopefully to the artist. And this comfort in sharing what I see and feel in posted works was created through the love, unity, and positivity of the other students in this class, and Peggy Caton, the faculty member. I am eternally grateful to them and will continue to be inspired and strengthened by them.
Through the course, I have expanded my vision of what constitutes an artistic work, and my ability to create one. I love how Peggy encouraged variety and exploration of art form from the very beginning; early on I think she mentioned that someone’s post was a plate that she had made for dinner or something like that. I have seen and felt the capacity to create in order to learn and understand, and see it as a sacred and valuable process. I have learned to be ok with not understanding everything about the Four Valleys, and to appreciate the special blessed glimpses of understanding that I have reached in this class, and to call on them to feel closer to The Creator. I will continue with these learnings in my monthly art devotional. My plan for January is for us to study The Tablets of The Hair and use this approach to learning, exploration, and consultation.
I think I am also going to take on a full time remote teaching job with 6th and 7th graders, and for our morning meetings I am going to try to figure out how to marry the concept of an art salon with one of the junior youth books, and possibly tie in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. It has been life changing, just like the Arts and the Faith course was this past summer. You are doing incredibly valuable and world-changing work!!!