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May 09, 2012 | Jeanie Sablatura

St. David's Celebrates the Earth with Visual, Written, Performing Arts

Kathy Boyd

The Rev. Cathy Boyd performs at eARTh Night.

Photo courtesy of  .  

More than 80 people gathered to view artwork and dance, and to hear poetry and music, as part of “eARTh Night: The Art Around Us” at St. David’s, Austin, on Sunday, April 22. The event celebrated the beauty of the world and the creativity of artists who expressed that beauty in a variety of media.


With almost 100 entries submitted by local writers and artists, the event featured photographs, paintings, felt constructions, jewelry, mosaics and an editorial cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Ben Sargent.  Members of Art from the Streets at Trinity Center, which serves downtown homeless neighbors, provided more than a dozen entries. 


Group entries also came from the kindergarten and four-year-old classes at St. David’s Episcopal Day School and the “Care for Creation” Journey Group held at St. David’s during the recent Lenten season.


Written works read aloud during the evening included both poetry and prose. Music and song were offered by the group Sour Notes and by the Rev. Cathy Boyd, while six-year-old Mason Tateosian played “Lava Song,” an original piano composition.


“I’m in awe of all the creative people in this community,” said artist and poet Carolyn Cornell, one of the evening’s organizers. “The confirmation of it is such a joy.”


Rosera Tateosian, chair of St. David’s Environmental Guild, which sponsored the event, credited Cornell with providing “the initial spark” for eARTh Night during a Journey Group held at the church last fall to study “our obligation to protect the earth. We focused on how we could celebrate the creation of the Earth and the beauty we all have to contribute to it.”


Tateosian explained that “Carolyn had the idea for a poetry night.”  Over time, she added, “the idea got bigger,” turning into “a rich meeting of art and creativity.” Following the event, Tateosian said she was “so pleased with the turnout and the variety of the evening’s program.”


The Environmental Guild plans to host an eARTh Night event annually, along with its yearly Earth Day Fair held at the church. This year, the Guild’s Sunday morning Earth Day activities included an electric car demonstration, e-waste collection, home energy conservation information, and a Master Gardener. 


Also to mark Earth Day, one of the church’s worship services was held outdoors on the Labyrinth. During the service, the St. David’s campus was dedicated as a Certified National Wildlife Habitat. The certification recognizes that, in the midst of downtown Austin, the church’s landscaping provides food, water, and shelter for wildlife.


St. David’s was the first worship community in Texas to join the GreenFaith Certification Program, a national interfaith environmental initiative, in 2010. The program aims to put religious-environmental beliefs into action. St. David’s expects to complete the two-year certification process this summer.


“The church has a responsibility to provide leadership for taking care of the earth,” said the Rev. Catherine Boyd. In addition to singing during eARTh Night, she served as emcee for the event, which she said was “fun and creative, perfect for getting people out. It’s important for the church to celebrate that human beings are co-creators of the earth.”