The Genesis of the Sonata Art Exhibit

Mike Sweitzer-BeckmanBenedictine Bridge, Main, Poetry Leave a Comment

Our Sonata exhibit artists gather to proof and critique each other’s work
(L-R: Gregory Bleck, Donna Carnes, Blair Mathews, Kent Sweitzer)

Last autumn, I discovered that one of our neighbors and biggest fans, Donna Carnes, was involved with an art exhibit at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The exhibit featured her poetry, paired with poetic works by Blair Mathews, matched up with watercolor paintings by a local artist. I had never met Blair before, but quickly discovered that he is well-known in various circles at the university through his career as a fitness instructor and poet, and now in retirement as a tai-chi instructor.

After a few conversations, it became apparent that we needed to bring their style of poetry to Holy Wisdom Monastery, and showcase it with a pair of photographers who have been so generous with their talents and keen photographic eye. If you look at our website, you’ll see countless photos by Gregory Bleck and Kent Sweitzer, both of whom bring the sisters’ values of prayer, hospitality, justice and care for the earth to life through photo.

This past winter, Donna and Blair went to work — capturing life’s ebbs and flows carefully through word. Their minimalist approach to choosing each word carefully captures the essence of Benedictine spirituality. After a few months of putting pen to paper, the poets turned their sixteen sets of paired works over to the photographers. Kent and Gregory have mined through tens of thousands of photos that span tens of thousands of miles around the globe to find the right photo to match up with these poems. What we have now is the Sonata art exhibit.

I couldn’t be more excited to invite you to come see the Sonata exhibit when it opens on the evening of Friday, June 8, 2012 in the Gathering Area at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The evening will feature opportunities for the poets to read some of their works, and for the four artists together to explain how this creative process came together. If you can’t come on opening night, please come and view the exhibit Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm until July 10, 2012.

This exhibit would not have been possible without our many sponsors. I hope you will patronize these businesses and thank them for supporting the arts at Holy Wisdom Monastery:

  • Alliance Benefit Group
  • American Family Insurance (Jeff Engelkes, agent)
  • Anonymous Donor
  • D.R.S. Ltd. – the company that paved our drive with their recycled rubberized asphalt.
  • First Business Bank
  • Full Spectrum Solar
  • H&H Industries
  • Meicher & Associates, LLP
  • Meuer Art & Picture Frame Co. – We are grateful for the in-kind donation of framing and matting the pieces in this exhibit.
  • Phoenix Consulting
  • Gail Shea
  • Summit Credit Union
  • Sal and Judy Troia
  • Richard Wagner
  • Mary Zaborski, Merrill Lynch Green Bay


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