Vision Statement, continued
I am fortunate to work among friends and colleagues who labor stead-
ily on many aspects of personal, neighborhood, organizational and
cultural change, in efforts designed to give the hopes of all people and
families some concrete impact on our society. This work has affirmed
my belief that the fabric of community is strengthened when we incor-
porate the capacities of all, even the “least” among us, into our civic
My own work uses what Carl Jung called "healing images" to capture,
express and inspire journeys of personal and communal change. Unlike words, art is a universal language; I believe that symbols, pictographs, and images can speak to the hearts and minds of all persons. Used in workshops, visual imagery can help participants envision a path to a more desirable future for themselves or those they serve. Used in large-scale story quilts, symbols can express both our unique imaginations and the values we share. The quilts I create, alone or with others, build from the images, stories, and textiles of many people and cultures. While I hope they succeed as works of art, I am even more concerned that they help create a sacred space where people came come together to celebrate individual capacities, remember common bonds, and engage in conversations that let all voices resonate.
I use the artistic process is not just a pragmatic tool but also a metaphor for the design of a meaningful life. Whether we are making a quilt or planning a person-centered future, the process of creation can be uncertain, frustrating, and long. We must commit time, space and energy…bring to it our bodies, minds and spirits…incorporate not only what we prize but what has been discarded, devalued or ignored…accept or even embrace imperfection…engage ourselves in play and questioning as well as hard work…and ignore received wisdom in favor of messages from our own hearts. We may need to change an element once, and again, and yet again as we find just the right fit. We may need to hear others’ voices that challenge our own. We may need to accept a beauty that does not look like what we expected, and embrace a vulnerability that does not feel like what we have been taught.
In using art-making as a metaphor, I do not in any way intend to gloss over the difficulty that invisible and marginalized people their families face. We have not yet achieved the beloved community; the heartbreak of injustice can be crushing and the difficulty of “mere” day to day living, for those with disabilities and other challenges, immense. Instead, I want only to affirm that co-creative engagement can help people both find a way out of no-way, and connect to others who are committed to fashioning a world that is more nurturing, more empowering, more beautiful and more just. —BETH MOUNT