We are back from our New England weekend. Thanks to the wonderful Jan (not the Nova Scotia Jan but the blogless Pawtucket Jan), I was able to drive to Westerly, Rhode Island, drop the children off with their grandparents in an exchange in a "Park'nRide" parking lot that would have made a Mexican drug lord proud before whisking back onto Rte. 95N to South Attleboro, MA, in time to negotiate the not-uncomplicated parking system that involves folding up dollar bills into tiny strips and inserting them, one at a time, into a big board all while sweating the fact that your train is due any second and you are parked so far away that even Usain Bolt would be feeling a certain amount of anxiety. But I made the train and caught my breath while enjoying the wonderful MBTA system, arriving in Boston with enough time to gulp down some soup among the Northeastern students (students, students, everywhere in Boston!) before heading to Simmons College.
Here is a photograph of their beautiful main building on campus that I stole from their website (did I carry around my camera all day? Yes. Did I use it even once? No.)
That is my long-winded introduction to saying that we had a very productive meeting and the project is underway. I will be working with a group of students taking an advanced arts administration course, among many others. In fact, the project will involve as much as the student body and greater Simmons community as possible, as well as sites around the campus in addition to the gallery itself. I think it will be exciting as it develops.
At the heart of the project is one simple question, what does it mean to say an unconditional yes?
I am especially interested in learning some answers from the young women who attend Simmons. As a group, they are poised to make some important choices about their lives and I am curious to learn about the depth from which they make those decisions. Further, there are institutional answers to that question, and answers from faculty and staff. There will be space in the gallery for everyone to create a response.
This is how it stands at the moment.
I started thinking about this idea some time ago actually. I heard a story that, I think, was attributed to Dogen, where he described Zen practice as being like a child leaping into their parent's arms - total joy, total freedom, total trust that they will be caught safely. Unconditional yes.