Unification News for February 2004

BC Arts Fest

Akina Toffey
January 21, 2004

It’s hard to explain the BC Arts Fest. You see, it’s not just a workshop or festival. Although it was started as such, it became so much more, and cannot be defined as such anymore. The idea that Clair Hoover and I came up with at Camp Shehaqua in August 2002 has drastically evolved over the past year and a half. Our original conception was a weekend to get together with other BC’s and listen to music (hence the name BC Arts Fest). Over the course of a few months, through much prayer and discussion, we gained a vision involving a workshop devoted to the mission of second generation.

In a typical workshop, what do you have? Most of the workshops blessed children have gone to revolve around the Divine Principle. While it is important for the second generation to understand the basis of our movement, no one is really sure how to implement it in their lives. For example, should all of us go on STF? If so, what is our mission afterwards? How should we view our careers? As meaningful ways to explore the talents God has offered us, or as ways to pay the bills? How do we incorporate Divine Principle with our so called outside life?

In the end, Clair and I wanted the BC Arts Fest to address these issues. Furthermore, we wanted to focus in on the arts, which has been largely absent from our movement. What is the meaning of creativity? Should we use the arts for ‘the providence?’ If so, how?

Of course, those are pretty difficult questions to try and answer in a weekend, much less in one organized by two 17 and 18 year old girls. But we tried. What ended up was a crash course in management. We orchestrated lectures and testimonies by 5 different highly supportive First Gen, testimonies by second gen, and an ‘entertainment night,’ with more than three hours of music.

For the first BC Arts Fest, held in March 2003 at UTS, almost 150 people showed up. Our lectures were given on Saturday by Rev. Joshua Cotter (Culture of Heart), Gerry Servito (Unification Thought- Theory on Art), David Eaton (Music and Spirituality), and some others. Besides several discussions on Saturday afternoon, we had testimonies by Milon Townsend (who has a very successful career as a glass artist), Koko Nakai (frontman for Mr. Sparkle), and myself (as an art student). The testimonies were on Sunday morning, and the entertainment was on Saturday night.

While we were highly successful with the first BC Arts Fest, both Clair and I were burnt out. At the behest of certain leaders, we tried to make a 20-year plan, but it didn’t work out. While it was helpful advice, we realized that the success of the BC Arts Fest lay in our personal inspiration and ownership. If we made a long-term plan, it would take away our ownership, and we would only feel empty obligation. Clair and I took a few months off, and had no plans for continuing the BC Arts Fest. She went to STF, and over the summer I helped out with the Lasting Love Conference in Korea (where my family lives). There, I met a few BC’s who shared their experiences at the BC Arts Fest, and how much it meant to them. It really revitalized me, and I felt a lot of direction to have more this year. Brinda Dugan, a STFer from Alabama, approached me about having one there. We are currently organizing a BC Arts Fest on Labor Day Weekend in May 2004 in Mobile. Another BC Arts Fest was held in UTS a few months ago in early December. The next one will be in California, at the end of March. We are constantly changing the format of the BC Arts Fest, with new lectures and discussions. One change has been donating the money raised at entertainment to other charities. From UTS in December, we were able to donate about $400 to a wonderful Christian organization helping North Korean refugees.

There are no guarantees on what will happen after this year. We are constantly looking for ways to help the second generation, and show them ways to viably not only make a difference in this world, but lead it. I firmly believe in idealism, and concrete ways to make our dreams come true. Blessed Children are very good about being humble, and giving up their ‘Isaacs.’ What they are not good is allowing themselves to dream, and holding themselves accountable for making their dreams substantial. The BC Arts Fest wants to be a catalyst for this.

I started writing a mission statement in December 2002, and after a few months it became so long that I started calling it a ‘purpose statement.’ It is the answers that Clair and I found to all the questions previously stated. Any comments on it are welcome. Please email me at bcartsfest@yahoo.com!

The Purpose of the BC Arts Fest

The BC Arts Festival and Workshop was created to accomplish three goals. First of all, we want to create a movement based on the Culture of Heart. Secondly, we will discuss the expression of art based on the Culture of Heart, and ways to use art as an outreach. Finally, the BC Arts Fest wants to establish a supportive community of Second Generation interested in the arts.

1. Personal Missions/ Future

If you go the way of the spearhead of the world, making such efforts in each field, you will be in the position of leading the best people from each of those fields. So you must quickly decide what to focus on. After deciding, you must make a comparison with all the great people of the past, present, and future. When you make effort to move everything beyond their level, these people will stand behind you. You must therefore become the best people from each sphere, becoming those who lead people.

You should decide on one thing… and be the best at it in the world. (True Father)

To become a movement centered on the Culture of Heart, the BC Arts Festival will discuss the responsibilities of blessed children. First of all, however, we must define the Culture of Heart. The Culture of Heart is a movement to create a society centering on God. To establish the Culture of Heart, we need to accomplish three things. First, we need to establish the vertical tradition. We need to center everything on God. A good model of this was ancient Islamic culture. For example, Muslims invented the first paper mill, but their motivation was from God. They wanted to be able to print religious texts cheaply for the poor. In vertical tradition, God is the inspiration, and we connect everything to Him.

The second aspect of the Culture of Heart is social, or horizontal. This means that we need to express God’s Heart through every aspect of society. We need passionate people of every profession to create a complete Culture of Heart. They need to be completely motivated about their work, centering everything on God’s will.

The third aspect of the Culture of Heart is aspirational. Naturally, a perfected individual has the impulse to create more joy. This should be applied to one’s career. We should perfect the hyungsang, or material knowledge of our chosen career, so we can be in the position to lead everyone in our field. We should be an inspiration to others, working for God’s Providence.

The BC Arts Fest wants to motivate Blessed Children to be leaders of their professions. We recognize that many of our youth are very talented. We believe that God has a special plan for each Second Generation. True Father says, "Everybody has his inherent talent." We can develop these personal strengths, specialize, and become leaders of different fields. If at an early age we understand the direction Heavenly Father wants for us, we can accomplish a lot through our lifetime. True Father has given us much guidance on choosing a direction in life:

You have to confer with your deep original mind after discussion with Heaven in deciding your special field in life. You yourself know well what kind of talent you have. Then, you have to listen carefully to where your mind tries to pull you. You have to listen to that…you should decide by yourself, harmonizing, with God’s guidance, the essence of your original self deep within your heart towards your future purpose.

The world would greatly benefit from being lead by True Physicists, Musicians, Doctors, Presidents, and Businessmen. We need to develop our talents and work to create the Culture of Heart. However, that is only half of it. We need to utilize our knowledge and talents and push ourselves to become the respected leaders of society. This is what True Father means when he tells us "you have to study for the sake of humankind and God." We can’t keep focusing only on a grass-roots movement. We can help the world so much faster by becoming respected figures in society. To do this, we must strive to become the best we can be.

Both Jesus and True Father went to the leaders of society first, looking for help in their mission. John the Baptist and other religious leaders were supposed to be a conduit to reach the people. However, those leaders failed. We have to take on the responsibility to bring True Parent’s word to the world. We need to reach as many people as possible.

To bring about this Culture of Heart revolution, we must guide society. The second generation must become leaders of all fields. We must become famous, not for ourselves, but to spread God’s Will.

Those of you who study simply to be successful in this world are insane. Everything will be recorded. Such people will not be able to go over a large hill, let alone the providential mountains which are higher than the Himalayas. They will stumble on the way... you should not make yourself accustomed to the way of life in this world. Even if you say, "Since we have received the Blessing, we will try to live in the same manner as other people," you [still] have your special mission... It is no good to live a mediocre life.

If you can turn around those on the top, who lead human history, restoration can go quickly. Otherwise, if we start the other way…from the laborer, we don’t know how many thousands of years it will take.

You must win over this world in all things. You have to stand in the upper position in this world. You must not be buried in this world. Since you have to go up to the top, you have to go the way of suffering, such a suffering that the people of this world cannot even follow. But the Unification Church goes that way. God also goes that way. Since we are going to stand at the top, the satanic world does not yield. (True Father)

The prime time for determining your direction is your late teenage/early twenties. In the seventies, members had to give up their lives to fundraise, and witness. However, due to our parents’ sacrifices, the Second Generation can use the time of their youth to plan for the future. During this time, we can realize our true purpose through prayer and intuition. If we start from this age, we can create a strong foundation and career path. Then we can be really successful. True Father says:

The most important time is from age 18 to 24. By the age of 24, you have to have established your life goals. You can know the direction of your life if you cultivate and dedicate yourselves.

You have to decide what kind of person you will be in the future around the age of 18 to 20 years. You must know about this yourself through your prayer and meditation.

If the Second Generation can accomplish this mission, they will be creating the Culture of Heart. The Culture of Heart has three aspects: vertical (connecting everything to God’s tradition), social (expressing God’s joy and love through all ways possible, in all aspects of culture), and aspirational (having the impulse to create more joy and to accomplish God’s will to the highest extent). Therefore, by choosing a path, connecting it to God’s will, and desiring to become the best in your chosen field, you will be creating the Culture of Heart.

2. Art in the Culture of Heart

Art as a Transformational Experience

Indirectly, the Divine Principle introduces the concept of art as a witnessing tool. The Principle of Creation states that "the work of an artist is a visible manifestation of its maker’s invisible nature… [For example,] we can sense an author’s character through his works." Likewise, many great artists believe that a work of art must have a sense of spirituality. The artist Robert Motherwell asserted that "without ethical consciousness, a painter is only a decorator." A work of art must possess heart, as well as aesthetics. To do this, artists communicate about themselves through a work of art. Henri Matisse, another great artist, explained "I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it."

A viewer can easily determine an artist’s personality from her/his work. This can either be a good or a bad thing. For example, one cannot deny the talent of Jackson Pollock. However, his work reveals a person very distraught and pained. Viewing his work becomes a heart-wrenching experience as we begin to understand Pollock’s confused mind. Imagine what his paintings would be like if a loving person created them? Instead of being depressing, they would be uplifting and beautiful. The second generation has the ability to be centered, joyful people. If they couple their true sungsang with the hyungsang knowledge of art, then their art will naturally be very pure and powerful.

Unification Thought asserts that an "appreciator feels joy by sensing his or her own sungsang and hyungsang through the work of art." This reveals that art has the ability to bring people back to their original mind. It has the power to inspire and facilitate new emotions. Viewers of the arts created by blessed children can receive the emotional side of our movement. This will be beneficial to them, as they may not be open to our intellectual teachings yet. Blessed children have the power to transform others through their art.

Art as a Critical Aspect of Culture

Art is important for another reason. Both the True Parents and Hyun Jin Nim are advocating a new Culture of Heart. Unification Thought asserts that "culture refers to the totality of the various kinds of human activity… among which the most central is art." Furthermore, "in order to create a new culture in the world, the restoration of art must be undertaken." It is already understood that art plays a central role in cultural revolutions. According to critic Herbert Read, artists "give plastic precision to… aspirations that would otherwise remain repressed and voiceless." Unification Thought reiterates, "The dawn [of] new eras in the past have always been preceded by a new spirit in art." Consequently, the arts both precede and enable them to grow. It will be to our advantage to cultivate our Second Generation to utilize the arts to their fullest extent. If we have Blessed Children in various art fields, our movement will be able to witness to millions of people.

3. The Necessity of the BC Arts Festival

A weekend devoted to the arts is crucial. A forum is needed to discuss and collaborate. Every art movement has had its café. Dada had the Cabaret Voltaire, and Picasso talked at the Lapin Agile. For the Impressionist it was the Café Guerbois, and later Abstract Expressionists congregated at the Cedar Bar. While email can be used to preserve a movement, only face-to-face discussion will serve as the needed catalyst to start it. We need to create an environment that allows such an art movement to develop.

By creating the BC Arts Festival, we want to support the Second Generation in their artistic endeavors. In encouraging their pursuits, we will remind them that people are created in Heavenly Father’s own image. This means that He wanted to create us, His objects, for His joy. We, in turn, are naturally inclined to create. Blessed Children already have the spiritual background needed to produce inspiring, yet honest, works of art. They only need to develop the hyungsang part- knowledge of physical materials. Moreover, the Arts Festival wants to provide Second Generation with a fresh view of art in our movement. We want to appreciate and encourage the talents of Blessed Children for the sake of the providence.

More information about the bc arts fest can be found at http://www.toastedpixel.com/bcartsfest.

About the Author: Akina Toffey is a (barely) 20 year old BC originally from New Jersey. Her family moved to Korea when she was 16. Since then, she’s been an art student at Ewha University, Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and (currently) at CalArts in southern California. Besides art, she loves music (having played the cello) reading (Jane Austen is her favorite). Akina is quite proficient at climbing trees.

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