In 2009 I was awarded The United States Artists Fellowship. This award afforded me time and resources to reflect upon what was most important at that time to address in my creative work as a cultural activator, composer, activist, and artistic director. My response was to delve into climate change and see if there was a creative response that would be both meaningful and effective.
As a mother I wanted to be able to stand with my daughter, and the future generations of all species, knowing that I did the best I could with whatever gifts, vision, capacity and will I had available in the face of climate change.
At that time I came across a book called COAL: A Human History. It spoke about how coal was, in essence, a story about creation and destruction, and that it was the interplay between those two that made it so compelling. I remember at that moment feeling the power of a singing Firerock, a 360 million year old fossil fuel spirit, wanting to stay in the ground.
Convinced that the enormity of climate change is hard to relate to and feel intimately, I committed myself to the power of myth, story, songs and community making. I felt certain that the power of these can foster the spiritual healing, heart-felt connection, and inspiration for long-term engagement that I felt was being called for. I knew then that it would take many years to develop - and that has been the case. After many years of work with an incredible team and collaborations around the country, the result is Firerock.
For me this work includes my learnings from creating and directing collaborative works of art with community groups around the globe for over 20 years. During this time I tackled areas of social shadow such as death and dying (Lifesongs), racial and economic trauma (Littleglobe) and more. Through this work I learned that wisdom, both personal and collective, is always here to be found if we create the spaces and conditions that allow it to rise and be integrated. I learned that moving the social imagination is immensely powerful and have found that when we are scared we are well capable of choosing love over fear when we have the spaces for true dignified exchange, the cultivation of compassion, meaningful expression, and personal and collective reflection.
During the years of working on Firerock the team has been through many life events and challenges. The members have been spread around the country and it has taken time to sculpt the piece and project into a form that truly inspires, heals, activates and educates. I believe we have done it. And now we release Firerock into the world.
Firerock has been carefully designed to evolve as it is goes to Firerock DIY host sites -whether they are faith communities, schools or theaters. It will be a joy for me to watch and feel Firerock change and grow over time and truly be passed from heart to heart.
We are now in time of great challenge with assaults to our humanity and to the earth that I could not have previously imagined. Fortification is needed on every level to both stand up to the destructive forces and to create solutions with all of our beauty and resource. It is my deepest hope that Firerock is received as the true prayer and catalyst for healing and activation it was created to be.
Molly Sturges, Santa Fe, NM