Attention as Devotion

Hill, vale, tree, and flower could be taken as a shorthand description of Laity Lodge. To arrive here is to encounter each of these aspects of the landscape. Hill, vale, tree, and flower also suggests an inherent progression in how our attention works—of how it moves from big to small as we come to inhabit this place over the course of a retreat. Our immediate awareness is of the big strokes: dusty hills that we’ve driven down, then up, to get to the Lodge. The vale—that defining contour where hills drop down to meet each other at the river. The canopy of cedar, oak, and cypress. Then turks cap and inland sea oat, milkweed and beautyberry. The longer we’re here—and the closer we look—the more we begin to see in every layer. By the time we leave, it can feel like we’re only beginning to see the fullness of things as they really are.

This exhibition revels in the idea of attention as devotion, perception as prayer. These artists, each in their own way, seek to see this holy ground, responding in an act of creation to help you inhabit the landscape that enfolds your imagination. In doing so, perhaps you can see yourself—and be yourself, here—in fresh, renewed ways.

“I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.”

—Maya Lin, Designer

A note from Deborah Rogers: 

On February February 12, 1954, my grandmother, Mary Holdsworth Butt, first encountered this property at the headwaters of the Frio River. In her diary that day she wrote, “Today we may have seen the place we really want for our Foundation Camp. It is the Wolfe Ranch in Real County on the Leakey Highway. It is on the Frio River and is a beautiful place… I wonder if we will go there in years to come? If we will get it – so hundreds of children and young people will enjoy that beauty each year?“

I love the fact that her first stated desire for the property was that it would allow visitors to enjoy beauty. It is a special kind of Texas Hill Country beauty that exists here—the winding river, the limestone canyon walls, the plants and animals that thrive in this oftentimes harsh environment.

Since the purchase of the ranch in 1954, the Foundation has devoted itself to attending to the canyon landscape. So I’m delighted by the creative witness of these five artists who help show us the way. Seeing their art can transform how we see what is around us.

God uses creation and the arts to unlock hope, mystery, beauty and love. We all have an open invitation: to participate in creation—to be good stewards of the world around us, as well as the creative gifts within each of us.

“Place is my medium. ”

—Mary Miss, Sculptor

“I had an overwhelming experience of my inner landscape and the outer landscape being identical.”

—Nancy Holt, Land Artist