Special Collaborations Bring Contemplative Practice BIG IDEA Project to Life

The Center’s new Contemplative Practice BIG IDEA project does more than explore the connection between art, meditation and mindfulness in today’s world—it also serves as an example of how collaboration between nonprofit organizations can bring a concept to fruition in unique, powerful and multidimensional ways.

A series of special events during the months of April and May will complement the Contemplative Practice visual arts exhibition in Ketchum and serve as a springboard for a discussion about the intersection of the arts, meditation, spirituality, religious practices and mindfulness. To conceive and present these events, The Center has collaborated with two other local nonprofit organizations—the Flourish Foundation and the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.

The Flourish Foundation

With its mission of promoting contemplative practices to inspire personal well-being, benevolent social action and environmental stewardship, the Flourish Foundation was a natural partner for The Center’s BIG IDEA project. In response to Dana Lynn Louis’ reflective meditation space in The Center’s Contemplative Practice exhibition, Ryan Redman of the Flourish Foundation created a guided meditation audio tour to enhance the visitor experience.

“The practice of meditation is ideal for exploring the interdependent relationship between ourselves, the viewers of art, the creation of art shared by an artist and the emergent experience that arises between the two,” commented Redman, who serves as Executive Director of the Flourish Foundation. “This project invites us all to bring more awareness and intentionality into this interplay that is at the heart of our human experience.”

In addition, members of the Flourish Foundation’s Compassionate Leaders program (high-school students trained in mindfulness practices) will lead several meditation sessions at The Center in Ketchum on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, April 11, at 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 13, at 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 18, at 5 p.m.

The 20-minute meditation sessions are free and open to the public.

“These students are really our hope for the future,” said Redman. “Over the past year, they have all embarked on the courageous journey to positively change the world from the inside out.” In recognition of the students’ participation in the project, The Center is making a donation to support the Compassionate Leaders’ international service trips, which provide opportunities for local youth to positively engage with the world.

The Sun Valley Wellness Festival

The Center also partnered with the Sun Valley Wellness Festival—host of the annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival—to bring extra star power to the Contemplative Practice BIG IDEA project. Together, the two organizations will present the 2017 Sun Valley Wellness Festival’s keynote address by Arianna Huffington—the author of 15 books and the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington’s lecture on Friday, May 26, will open the four-day festival of talks, performances and workshops that focus on mind, body, spirit and the environment; it will also be the third and final event in The Center’s 2016–2017 Lecture Series.

“Partnering with other nonprofits allows us to inspire and deepen our relationship with the community,” said Katelyn Foley, The Center’s Director of Education and Humanities. “With Contemplative Practice, we planned from the beginning to work with Sun Valley Wellness Festival. We hope to expand on the experience that the Wellness Festival offers our community by including the arts as part of the conversation.”

The Center has commissioned artist Dana Lynn Louis (whose works are featured in The Center’s visual arts exhibition) to install projected images of her drawings outside the Sun Valley Inn, which serves as the site of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Louis will also be speaking at the Festival.

On Thursday, May 25, The Center will be open to the public from 5 to 6:30pm for a reception kicking off the Sun Valley Wellness Festival. The reception will conclude with a clearing ceremony led by Dana Lynn Louis. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to write something they’d like to clear from their lives or the world on a card that will be sealed in an envelope; Louis will burn the envelopes during the ceremony. Envelopes and cards will be available at The Center and at Friesen Gallery in Ketchum, where Louis will be the subject of a solo exhibition, stream, beginning March 31.

Dr. Courtney Gilbert, Curator of Visual Arts at The Center, believes the collaborative approach underpinning the Contemplative Practice BIG IDEA project offers exciting opportunities for viewers to interact with and experience art in new and unusual ways. “The Flourish Foundation’s audio tour and guided meditation sessions will give viewers opportunities to engage with the art in the exhibition while slowing down, contemplating and meditating on the artwork itself,” she said. “Dana Lynn Louis’s installation of projected drawings at the Sun Valley Inn during the Sun Valley Wellness Festival will allow Festival participants and others to encounter art in an unexpected place—under the porte-cochère at the Inn—and to make a visual connection between Louis’s work, the themes and ideas behind the Wellness Festival, and the exhibition at The Center.”

The Contemplative Practice exhibition and its associated events will run through June 23, 2017.