Sacred spaces

Yesterday, a friend and I drove up to Brevard, NC via the Pickens (SC) flea market. On the way back, we stopped in Hendersonville, NC at a gallery called Revolving Arts. The proprietor, Julie Spalla, says that she and her husband have worked very hard to create a “sacred space” where local and regional artists with “strong voices” can sell their work with minimal markup. Revolving Arts relocated to Hendersonville less than six months ago from Asheville where high end galleries like Blue Spiral engage in the very common practice of “keystoning” – marking up the works they sell by as much as 400%. I was immediately impressed with Spalla’s prices and told her so, which is how our conversation began.

I had another interesting conversation this morning about an artform closer to home. A creative ministry director and I talked marketing for over an hour and a half and I was surprised to find that we have much in common. We share the belief (or, in my case, the intuition) that Greenville is ripe and ready for a venue where adults can buy family-friendly professional theatrical entertainment. To recap, that’s 1.) family-friendly, 2.) professional, 3.) theatrical, 4.) entertainment. All essential components. One key to the success of such a venture would be making it crystal clear to potential patrons that all four components are always at play. This would not be a religious theater, but a place of unapologetic positivity … a smile and a hug … not a wry smile and a suggestive hug, nor an instructive tweak on the nose.

A director friend of mine makes the distinction between country music and rock music, saying that country music comes from the heart, whereas rock music comes from the genitalia. The kind of theater I want to do comes from the heart. It’s fascinating to me that so many of my peers find so much validation in anger and titillation, and feel so compromised by heart-focused entertainment. How did that happen? How did the proprietors of our theatrical “sacred spaces” become so self-absorbed?