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The Sacrament of Everyday Living: An Ars Zoetica Manifesto

Ars Zoetica first started coming into being a few years ago when I was studying to become an Episcopal priest.  The name is a play on the great Ars Poetica written by Horace in the year 19 BCE.  As Ars Poetica was the "Art of Poetry," Ars Zoetica seeks to spread the art of living into an intentional and inspired life, a life that is permeated by a sense of the sacred.  Or, to put it another way, I want to bring awareness to the sacrament of everyday living.  I believe this can be done in limitless capacities, from poetry to art, from sharing a meal to service work, from social justice to time in solitude.  And I believe it doesn't need a church, a religion, or any faith at all.  As poet Mary Oliver so beautifully put it, there are only three instructions for truly living a life: 

Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.

The word Zoetica comes from zoetic, which Merriam Webster defines as "of or relating to life : living, vital."  It is also a play on the Greek word, zoe, which is often translated in the Bible as referring specifically to an abundant and blessed life, the highest life possible.  Lexicons devoted to sacred texts translate it as "life-giving, life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, blessed."  It refers to "life as a principle, life in the absolute sense," as opposed to the greek word, bios, which simply speaks of something being alive.  In other words, zoe is the life that transcends mere existence.  It speaks of a life lived intentionally, and made sacred.  That is what I aspire to every day, and I welcome you to the Ars Zoetica community. 

Sacred Spaces: The Aesthetics of Sacramental Living

As the grandson of an antiques dealer and son of an interior designer, I grew up steeped in interior design and event planning.  My education in fine arts, art history, and seminary only deepened this gift and passion, and as a partner or principal consultant in three design firms in Tucson, I constantly strove to bridge the aesthetics of space with the health and enrichment of the spirit.  

In my aesthetic designs, whether for permanent spaces or temporary events, I draw on a rich history of sacred spaces, traditions, and customs to create places that bring a sense of the liminal to the everyday.  The world is rich with cultures that mark space and time with symbols, art, milestones, tokens, and memorials.  Our shared history primes us to receive continual messages from our surroundings, whether in the form of a moving liturgy or a soothing or inspiring vista.  There's no reason a home or planned events can't provoke the same feelings of meditation, awe, or inspiration as a cathedral or temple.  Invoking this sense of mystery, reverence, and awakening is a vital part of the Ars Zoetica aesthetic, and I believe it has the power to enrich every part of life.  Why not surround yourself with things that elevate and inspire you, heal you and speak to you?  Why not make your home a sacred space?  Although I am no longer working with a specific design firm, I do occasionally take on projects that inspire me.  Recently I have created events and/or aesthetic designs for: 

Jo Malone London

Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Grace St Paul’s Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

The Loft Cinema

The Pima Arts Council

Many private clients

I am currently the design director for a major project in cooperation with Vint and Associates Architects and Gipson Corwin Homes, involving the conversion of a 1915 church into a multi-use residential and venue space.

You can read more about this at Santos Y Milagros: A Song for the Sacrament of Living


Eric K. Carr: The Founder of Ars Zoetica

I don't usually like labels, but I do think it's fun to think of myself as a multipotentialite.  If you'd like, you can read a little more about me HERE.

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