The Art Monastery Project is downright psyched to announce that we have our newest team members: let’s start with Elizabeth Maxwell.
I think I will not forget the first time I laid eyes on Liz Maxwell. She burst into the room as the winter light of the day was waning and tinted blue, but nothing about Liz was waning. She stood strapped into an enormous backpack, chest heaving. I don’t think her chest was heaving from the weight of the bag or the stairs she’d just climbed– from the spark in her eye and the massive grin on her face, I suspected that she was really excited to have arrived.
The Art Monastery was located in the Santa Brigida back then, an incredibly beautiful agriturismo that was, in that early March moment, without heat or hot water. This didn’t seem to faze Liz at all and I watched as in her first hours with the project tune into the vibe of the place, zipping in as though she had been working alongside us for years, harmonizing so perfectly that when I think of times before she came I wonder how we could stand to be missing such an essential note. She arrived that day as a work-trader, a traveller who would do 5 hours of manual labor per day and stay for 7 days. It took minutes to see that Liz was in a completely different class, and now, six months later, she is a vital member of the core team of the Art Monastery. Her title is Director of Programming as well as Assistant Director for Theatrical Projects, but she does so much more than that.
Liz talents and brilliance continue to blossom, each day bringing new gifts to the Project. In her first five months with the Project, Liz directed an original theatre piece entitled American Decadence, participated in Gregorian Chant and choir concerts around Italy, led an improv workshop in an Arts-Based Youth Empowerment Camp, helped to produce an American Country Music Festival, sang jazz & blues in our American Danceband, performed in a Commedia dell’Arte interpretation of Romeo& Juliet, made promotional video that are now all over YouTube, and brought a particular love, dedication, and sparkle to our intentional community. I can only imagine the effects she will have in the years to come.
Liz seems to take delight in learning new things and approaches hurdles with vigor and a curious, adventurous attitude. I am extremely grateful for this angel called Ms. Liz Maxwell. I am grateful for all of her professional skill, both in the office and on the stage. I am grateful for the way she sings “Hallelujah” with her heart in her throat, like it’s only time she will ever get to sing that song, every time she sings it. I am grateful that she laughs loud and hard at every opportunity.
I am grateful she brought her brother, an excellent musician and stellar community member in his own right, to work and play with us for the summer. I am grateful for her risk-taking, for the way she listens to her heart, for the love and light she beams out every second of every day. I am grateful for the incredible care Liz takes with every member of our community, including our neighbors, our business contacts, the girl who works at the bar, and the lady who works at the Post Office. It’s an honor to have this incredible human being devoting herself to this project and stunning to see the beauty of her ripple effect. I am grateful that she loves doing Italian flashcards as much as I do. I am grateful for the way she listens and the way she forgives. I am grateful for her fierce loyalty to the project and her dedication to helping in ways that are less fun but the most necessary. I am grateful for her spiritual exploration, for her inner spark, for her creativity, and her intelligence. I am grateful that she is as much of a nerd as I am about iPods and operating systems. I am grateful for all the invisible things she brings to this community. I am grateful for the emotional support she has been to me personally. I am grateful that she pestered me so consistently and then really took responsibility for bringing Tony into the family.
Which brings me to announcement of the other new team member: Tony Coco Art Monastery Tartufo! Liz found Tony in the middle of the forest and swooped him into her heart and into the Project. His mother is a truffle dog, so we’re all hoping that after he learns not to jump all over everyone all the time, that he will hunt truffles and provide an additional income stream for the Art Monastery. Tony’s charm is well suited for his role as Public Relations Officer, even though he’s just 6 months old. Yup, Tony’s birthday is the same day that Liz came to the Project. Coincidence? You be the judge.
It is with great reverence that I announce the newest members of our community: Liz Maxwell and Tony Tartufo.[cincopa 10757557]