The Indianapolis Choral Artisans finished their inaugural season earlier this summer by joining forces with the Harrison Center for the Arts for a special project which helped us begin the journey of "serving the city with collaborative art experiences through the craft of choral music-making." When our choral community launched last fall, the desire was not to develop a group of singers who operated within the vacuum of a "chorus singing for themselves." What would it look like instead to link arms with other artistic organizations in order to make a positive contribution to the aesthetical life of our city? I'm grateful for the Harrison Center partnership, because I strongly believe that the choral art-form can and should cross-pollinate with other art mediums (painting, dance, photography, theatre, etc).
I was thrilled to find a choral composition which I thought would work well in collaboration with some of the visual artists and artisans of the Harrison Center. The text is taken from a poem by William Butler Yeats entitled, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", set to music by the contemporary composer Ola Gjeilo. I approached the HCA staff to see if any of the artists would be interested to interpret Yeats' poem through their particular mediums. Eleven artists graciously agreed to take part in the project (Lorie Lee Andrews, Kathryn Dart, Kyle Ragsdale, Carolyn Springer, Kate Oberreich, Johnny McKee, Benaiah Cusack, Benny Sanders, Sarah Hedges, Elyce Elder and Anne Cleary). "The Lake Isle Project" was birthed and became one of the featured shows for the First Friday in June held in the Speck Gallery.
That evening, guests were given the opportunity to deepen the experience of assimilating Yeats' poem into both the head and heart through the raw materials of text, paint, sound and fabric. You really need two things in order to unpack any piece of art: The use of the imagination to see connections between things.And patience, which allows the piece to speak to you through its own unfolding temporal process. In certain arts, such as architecture, sculpture and painting, the whole appears before the detail - the assimilation of the work progresses from the general to the particular. In literature and music, the detail strikes one first and leads to the appreciation of the whole - the assimilation progresses from the particular to the general.