When we decided to try to fund the Coastland Commons recording project through Kickstarter, we knew the stakes were high. You raise the entire amount, or you don’t get a dime. It is this element of risk that makes Kickstarter a remarkable platform, and such a draw for artists. It forces questions to the surface. Is this project worth doing? Some questions were much harder: would others see the same thing? Would we be able to articulate the vision? Would it gain traction and captivate those who encountered it? We continually asked the same questions to as many people as would listen: would it make sense that this group is not a band in the traditional sense of the word? Would people donate to such an emerging concept - a generative artistic community that has inclusivity at its heart? A group that makes music but is not a band. Are we just stumbling over our words at that point?
We decided for the sake of clarity to focus the Kickstarter on the recording. After all, the money IS going to fund the recording, so let’s just focus on that. Through that process, some things started to become clearer. You can see the details better when you freeze the frame. That’s what this recording is, a collection of frozen frames from a larger story that have been sharpened and edited; practiced and honed. But that, truth be told, is not the whole story. The recordings are edited curations of a larger conversation that is happening in a community called Coastland Commons.
So, what is Coastland Commons? Coastland Commons is an open community that believes life is not transactional but sacred, that God is not ideological but embodied, and that humans are not agents of consumption but instead agents of grace and bearers of imago Dei. This orientation to life has paved a way to experience creativity as spiritual formation. Inasmuch as the creative process leads us into openness, renewal, and truth, we believe the practice of it can engage and form the spirit toward wholeness, healing, and reconciliation. Those are big words. This is a big idea, and sometimes feels too big to grasp - even when we think we have it, it eludes us. You can see why the Kickstarter is just a recording. Sometimes these ideas seem too big to capture.
Perhaps it helps to start small. That’s what we did for the recording. We came around sacred texts of Scripture because we believe that we will be formed by the living God. We believe these texts will actually speak. We also believe that as human beings we are commissioned to share what we have heard in a way that honors the dynamism of Scripture - and languages of art do that with integrity. So some write songs and sing them. That is what will be captured in the recording, and that is one piece of the picture.
Others paint. Others serve and preach and write poetry. Others cook and bake. There is room for everyone and yet the work of each is specific. We are on the lookout for other people, artists by trade and artists by birth, who we can come alongside and encourage. The work is endless and renewing all at the same time.
Why does this matter? No work of art comes out of nothing. It comes through the fermentation and agitation of community, and the art of this particular recording comes out of Coastland Commons. These songs are a story; a story worth telling, and sharing, and inviting others into.
We want, more than anything else, to tend the creative spirit so that we may all celebrate all kinds of artistic works throughout the Pacific Northwest. We want this to be the first project of many projects, and for those projects to be the first volume of many volumes.
So thank you. Thank you not just for your support, but for your belief that this is possible. To the first of many projects to come, and to making Seattle a place that restores the creative voice to the common space of humanity.