“Arc of the Moral Universe: A Notebook Project” organized by Artist, Carla Rae Johnson
on exhibit in the Ottinger Room of the Croton Free Library, 171 Cleveland Drive, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
September 4 to October 30, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 8th 2-4 pm
Readings and Conversations: Sunday, September 22nd 2-3:30 pm
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”
Theodore Parker 1853 (quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barak Obama)
Artist, Carla Rae Johnson conceived of this creative, collaborative project involving bound notebooks following a series of national and international social/political events in 2016/17. In 2018, she invited artists, writers, as well as other creative and critical thinkers to join in this endeavor. Her invitation stated:
This is an opportunity to envision our future, the “arc of the moral universe,” and the fate of our planet by recording your ideas, your feelings, and your vision to share with others. The 2016 presidential election in the U.S. and other social/political events around the globe, have ushered in challenging times. Creative people are the ones to register these events and respond in hopeful, compassionate, and positive ways.
The fruits of this invitation are more than 65 notebooks filled with: drawings/sketches, writing, lyrics, photos, montages, fold-outs, and non-objective rt of color, line, texture, shapes, and shadings. Arc participants come from the Northeast, Midwest, South, and Southwest in the United States. Participants agreed to complete a 96 page notebook in one year (July 4, 2018- July 4, 2019), and could choose to fill their notebook by themselves, or to collaborate with others to fill one or both sides of the pages. Contents include personal observations and opinions, visual ideas, political/social commentary, poetry, and stories: all generated to reflect upon the arc and its trajectory. The intention is to provide a format for consistent creative acts that will give viewers of the “Arc” an intimate look into contemporary creative minds and how they respond to our current times. The “Arc” documents one year in each of their emotional and intellectual lives.
A selection of 45 notebooks from “Arc of the Moral Universe” will be on exhibition at the Ottinger Room of the Croton Free Library in September/October 2019. This exhibition will generate visitor interaction via handling, exploring, and reading the notebooks. Carla Rae Johnson also sees it as an opportunity to create dialogue and exchange. Thus, at the opening reception, and, again, on September 22nd there will be “Readings and Conversations” that bring people together to talk about the “Arc,” and our current, local, national, and global social/political/environmental realities.
Arc participants with notebooks in this exhibition are:
Gabriel Adames, Karen B. Allen, Ori Alon, Inez Andrucyk, BOLDFACE, Jo-Ann Brody, Edward A. Burke, Angela Carrozza, Judy Collischan. Sarah Connors, Linda Cunningham, Kathy Daley, Karen Fitzgerald, Marcy B. Freedman, Wendie Garber, Bonnie Glauber, Pearl Rosen Golden, Nadine Gordon-Taylor, Susan Grabel, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Sarah Havilland. Hillary Hoffstatler, Carla Rae Johnson, Mary McFerran, G. Ray Mak, Willie Marlowe, Linda Maylish, Mara Mills, Susan Obrant, Barbara Page, Mary Tooley Parker, Marina Payne, Bonnie Peritz, Cristina Ramos-Payne, Jessica Rechtschaffer, Sheilah Rechtschaffer, Marilyn R. Rosenberg, Ilse Schreiber-Noll, Jeanne D. Shaw, Roseanne Spano Swider, Peg Taylor, Lavinia Wiggins, Dava Frog Wing, and Marjie Z.