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Montreat Conference Center - Radical Beauty

Radical Beauty

Living in the Tension of Healing and Social Change

October 9 - 12, 2017

Do you believe beauty could be a resource for creating change in communities? A source of healing for hurting souls? A way of engaging in a more productive conversation? We do.

Radical Beauty is for people who believe there’s a better way to engage in dialogue across all sorts of differences, who believe that art can build community and cross divides.

Radical Beauty will use a cyclical model of engagement to explore how we can use art to create and cultivate beauty. Each cycle will begin with an artistic experience – a concert, a film viewing, a poetry reading – followed by a facilitated conversation about how that experience, and others like it, can build community. Each experience will conclude with time for reflection and renewal in an innovative sacred space, led by Pete and Joyce Majendie.

Click on the Leadership tab above for more information on our key leaders. Also, click on the Workshops tab for descriptions of the afternoon presentations from Fr. Eric Hollas. 

Hear What People Are Saying About Radical Beauty

Gareth Higgins is a Northern Irish peace activist, author, and beloved film critic. He will be the creative director for Radical Beauty and will be facilitating conversations between presenters and participants. He is a gifted story teller and discerning conversationalist, who has a unique and powerful insight into the ways art can change our conversations, big and small.

Lisle Gwynn Garrity is an artist with A Sanctified Art, a pastorist, and a retreat leader. Her mantra is “paint the truth, but paint it slant,” inspired by Emily Dickinson. Lisle has a unique perspective on the role of beauty in her process as a communal artist. She will be attending Radical Beauty as a participant in October. You can learn more about Lisle here.

David LaMotte is a well-loved songwriter, with over 3000 concerts on five continents and every state in the U.S. on his musical resumé, his guitars and drums in tow. He will be performing with Abraham Jam, a group formed by a Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian, at Radical Beauty. He believes that to sustain the change-making journey, beauty is essential.

Register for the Conference Now!

To register and/or reserve accommodations for this conference online, please click on the RATES & REGISTRATION tab above. You may also download a registration form above.

Abraham Jam Concert

Interested in coming for just the Abraham Jam Concert? Tickets will be $20 in advance online and $25 on-site. Purchase tickets now!

Please note: If you are registered for the Radical Beauty conference on October 9-12, 2017, this event is included in your conference fee. You do NOT need to purchase tickets separately.

Watch the Promotional Video

Receive a free copy of The Porch Magazine

Gareth Higgins, founder of the Wild Goose Festival and The Porch magazine will be the creative director for Radical Beauty and is offering you a free issue of The Porch:

I’m really looking forward to being with you all at Radical Beauty, which I’m expecting will be a rich and inspiring time. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to join the ongoing conversation we’re hosting at The Porch magazine, stories of beauty that help us live better.

I’m delighted to provide a free issue of The Porchjust click here to read it. If you like it, please subscribe at www.theporchmagazine.com, and join our community. I’d be delighted to have you with us – and your subscription will help us continue to nurture a community of hope amid the anxiety of the current moment.

Thank you friends, and I look forward to seeing you in October!

Warmly, Gareth

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Rates & Registration

Special Group Incentive for the Radical Beauty Conference!
When you bring your spouse or a friend – or a whole group of friends – with you to this conference, take advantage of our special group incentive rate. The first registration from a church group or presbytery team will be at the full comprehensive or commuter rate. Any additional registrations (all the friends and colleagues who come with you!) from the same church group or presbytery team will be reduced by $25 per registration. Two or more people constitute a group, and there is no limit to the number of people in your group who may take advantage of this offer. (When registering online, you may use the “Comments” section to notify the registrar of any additional people in your group. Some discounts may be applied separately by the registrar.)

Comprehensive Rates

Register online for conference, room, and meals

Comprehensive rates below include conference fee, room in Assembly Inn or the Winsborough (Monday through Wednesday night), meals in the Galax Dining Room (Monday supper through Thursday breakfast), plus a $3 community services fee per adult for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. Rooms are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Rooms in Assembly Inn have either private baths or connecting baths. Rooms in the Winsborough have mostly connecting baths.

After August 28, 2017, these rates will increase by $75 per person.

Assembly Inn:
$458.50 single occupancy
$622.00 double occupancy (includes “group” discount)
$80.50 for children 12-15
$40.00 for children ages 5-11
no charge for children under 5

Winsborough:
$308.50 single occupancy
$472.00 double occupancy (includes “group” discount)
$80.50 for children 12-15
$40.00 for children ages 5-11
no charge for children under 5

Commuter Rate

Register online for conference only

Commuter rates below include conference fee plus a $3 community services fee per person for public services provided by the Town and the fire district.

On/before August 28: $108 per person ($191 with spouse)
After August 28: $183 per person ($266 with spouse)
Daily Rate – $70 per person/per day (when registering online, enter “daily rate” and the date you wish to attend in the “Comments” section)

Refund Policy

Cancellations must be received by August 28 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after August 28 but on or before October 2 will receive a 50% refund of the conference fee and payments made toward room and meal charges (if applicable) less $40. No refunds will be issued after October 2. All requests must be in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

Child Care Information

Child care is available for this conference for an additional charge. Pre-registration is required. Enrollment is limited. The cost is $100 for the first child, and $50 for each additional child.  If you have questions about registering for child care, email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org. If you have general questions about the child care program, please email the child care coordinator at childcare@montreat.org.

Contact the Registrar

If you have any questions about the registration process, please email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org or call 828.419.9829.

Key Leadership

Montreat Conference CenterNatasha Trethewey – Presenter

Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). Among her many honors, Trethewey is the recipient of the 2016 Academy of American Poets Fellowship which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. Trethewey, formerly the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, will be joining the faculty of Northwestern University in the fall of 2017. In addition to being United States Poet Laureate, she held the position of State Poet Laureate of Mississippi, from 2012-2016.

Montreat Conference CenterAbraham Jam – Concert Artists and Presenters

A Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian walk into a concert hall……and put on a great concert together, modeling their mutual respect and affection, entertaining listeners, and creating music that is strengthened by their diversity, rather than hindered by it. These three musicians of the three Abrahamic faiths, each of whom has performed extensively and put out many CDs of original music, team up to play together as Abraham Jam. They don’t just take turns sharing songs, but create music together, contributing vocal harmonies, percussion, and instrumentation to each other’s songs. Dawud Wharnsby is an insightful and passionate musician based in Toronto, Canada. He sings beautifully-crafted original songs on guitar and mandolin. Billy Jonas is an accomplished percussionist, guitar player, pianist, and songwriter, with infectiously whimsical songs and a knack for inspiring audiences to join in. David LaMotte is a well-loved songwriter, with over 3000 concerts on five continents and every state in the U.S. on his musical resumé, his guitars and drums in tow. Together, they make up the Abraham Jam, a band of brothers.

Montreat Conference CenterGareth Higgins – Presenter/Creative Director

Gareth is a northern Irish peace activist, author, and beloved film critic. He is the founder of the Movies & Meaning Festival, The Porch Magazine, and helped found the Wild Goose Festival, a national justice, spirituality, and art festival launched in 2011. His most recent book, Cinematic States, explores the myth and dream of the United States through movies. He travels and speaks about film, peace activism, and Celtic spirituality.

Montreat Conference CenterFr. Eric Hollas – Presenter

Fr. Eric Hollas is a monk and priest of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN. Since 1980 he has been a member of the faculty of the School of Theology and Department of Theology at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and for nine years (1993-2002) he served as the executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University. He currently serves as Deputy to the President for Advancement, at Saint John’s University. Among his many activities, Fr. Eric was instrumental in initiating The Saint John’s Bible, a project in which the monks of Saint John’s have commissioned Donald Jackson, scribe to the Queen of England, to create a hand-written and illuminated Bible.

Montreat Conference CenterPeter and Joyce Majendie – Worship/Sacred Space

From Christchurch, New Zealand, Pete and Joyce have been instrumental in the creation of a variety of ways of bringing art and faith closer together. They are the creators of large-scale multi-media art installations in public spaces, including the 185 Empty White Chairs earthquake remembrance installation. For fourteen years they led Side Door, an alternative expression of church, for those going out the back door of church. Pete and Joyce will join Eric Wall and Ann Jones in creating opportunities for prayer and worship throughout the conference. In addition, Pete will present “Vincent van Gogh, Jesus and Me,” which will explore the life of Vincent van Gogh from the perspective of his spirituality and its relation to his art. As van Gogh struggled with failure and depression, his paintings and letters opened a different window to God, offering hope to all of us who struggle with somewhat less than successful lives.

Micky ScottBey Jones – Facilitator

Micky ScottBey Jones – the Justice Doula – is a womanist contemplative activist, healer, nonviolent direct action organizer and consultant who facilitates conferences, workshops, pilgrimages, retreats and online conversations. She writes & speaks on a variety of topics including healing justice, communal self-care, contemplative activism, intersectionality and theology from the margins. Micky has an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and is an Associate Fellow of Racial Justice with Evangelicals for Social Action. She is the Director of Healing Justice with the Southern-based collective Faith Matters Network. Micky was named one of the Black Christian leaders changing the world in Huffington Post. You can interact with her work and collaborations at www.mickyscottbeyjones.com.

Montreat Conference CenterRev. Dr. Ann Laird Jones – Conference Artist

Ann Jones is the director of arts ministry, Montreat Conference Center. She is a teaching elder and member of St. Andrew Presbytery, and splits her time between Greenville, MS, and Montreat, NC. She earned her undergraduate from Eckerd College, her Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Seminary, under the leadership and guidance of Catherine Kapikian. She loves teaching pottery, drawing, and painting. She plays the violin and is moved by the arts at every turn.

Montreat Conference CenterEric Wall – Conference Musician

Eric Wall is the assistant professor of sacred music and dean of the chapel at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. From 1998 to 2015 he was director of music at First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC. Prior to this position, he was director of music at the Ashville School (1994-1998). He has served as the conference center musician at Montreat Conference Center since 2011. At Montreat Conference Center, he is responsible for providing musical direction for summer worship, directing a choir of college-age summer staff, offering music for adult conferences, participating in planning worship and arts conferences, being available as a resource musician for summer events, and engaging in the life of the conference center as a music and worship consultant. Wall is a frequent contributor to Call to Worship, the journal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Theology and Worship. He regularly serves the larger church by providing music and planning leadership for a variety of conferences and gatherings and by serving as a music and worship consultant for other Presbyterian churches. He has taught at Columbia Theological Seminary and served as a music and worship consultant in various congregational settings.

Montreat Conference CenterHannah Garrity – Liturgical Artist

Hannah Garrity holds a bachelor of fine arts in painting from Cornell University, and a master of science in teaching from Pace University. Beginning with Teach for America in Brooklyn, NY, she is an elementary educator. She presently teaches art at Powhatan School in Boyce, VA.

Workshops

Tuesday at 2:oo pm

Collaborative Silk Banners
As we continue to explore the intersection between faith and creativity, our silk workshop members will be creating banners using silk, resist, and dye. Join us to travel through the artistic process from the bible to the banner! Led by Ann Jones and Hannah Garrity, Currie Craft Center/Sally Jones Pottery

The Wisdom of the Mockingbird
The mockingbird picks up the songs of others. How do we navigate the sometimes clear, sometimes burry distinctions of “sacred” and “secular” music? This workshop will look at songs and practices that can invite both expected and unexpected musical voices into our worship and our communities. Led by Eric Wall and Rich Richards

Vincent van Gogh, Jesus and Me
Jesus, the artist of all artists, “works with the flesh and the spirit to make real men and not statues”. –Vincent van Gogh. Peter Majendie offers a reflection exploring rejection, loneliness and failure, paralleled within the lives of these two great artists. He explores the life of Vincent van Gogh from the perspective of his spirituality and its relation to its art. As van Gogh struggled with failure and depression, his paintings and letters opened a different window to God, and offers hope to all of us who struggle with somewhat less than successful lives. Led by Pete Majendie

Wednesday at 2:oo pm

Clay and Earth, One Body
This hands-on workshop will focus on the lyrical beauty of earth, as we work with clay individually and as a group. We will use the work of the late Paulus Berensohn, potter and dancer, considering the interaction between earth, clay, hands and bodies, in light of new ideas about embodying texts in worship space. Led by Ann Jones and Hannah Garrity, Currie Craft Center/Sally Jones Pottery

At the Intersection of Faith and Artistic Inspiration
The Abraham Jam wouldn’t exist without the particular faith traditions that nurture and challenge each member of the group. In some ways, the group also owes its existence to the ways members of those faiths have misunderstood one another, sometimes tragically. How do these distinct belief systems contribute to the creativity of Billy, Dawud, and David as individuals and as a trio? What is gained in this inter-faith and creative dialogue? Led by the members of the Abraham Jam: Billy Jonas, Dawud Wharnsby, and David LaMotte

Plenary Options

Tuesday at 4:00 pm

The Artist as Preacher: Sacred Art and the Eye of the Beholder
We are so accustomed to hearing the Bible explicated from the pulpit that we overlook the profound insights that artists offer to us. This presentation will open with a brief overview of how calligraphers in ancient and medieval Bibles communicated themes to readers of their times, and how illuminations in The Saint John’s Bible have sought to communicate and dialog with contemporary readers. Led by Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB

Wednesday at 4:00 pm

The Saint John’s Bible: The Challenge and Reward of Making the Word of God Come Alive on a Page
It had been 500 years since a Benedictine monastery had gone through the process of creating a hand-written, illuminated, monumental Bible. With no precedent to guide them, calligrapher Donald Jackson and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey embarked on a project of self-discovery and creativity. This presentation will identify the challenges that confronted them and how the project came to shape both calligrapher and community. Led by Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB

More Information

Available Scholarships
We have limited scholarships available for program fee only.  Download the application form.

Child Care Information
Child care is available for this conference for an additional charge. Pre-registration is required. Enrollment is limited. The cost is $100 for the first child, and $50 for each additional child.  If you have questions about registering for child care, email the registrar at SusanA@montreat.org. If you have general questions about the child care program, please email the child care coordinator at childcare@montreat.org.

CEU’s
Continuing education units are available for this conference.

Private Housing
The following is a list of private rentals for individuals and groups:

Meals for Commuters
Please check out the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce as well as our Business Patrons web page for a list of restaurants in Black Mountain.