|ARK in Berea Community Fire Pit|
Around the mid 1970s, a distinctly off-center collection of counter culture hippies, agrarians, artists, musicians, anarchists, philosophers, immigrants, nudists, students, writers, and some vegetarians started to assemble informally around a primitive campfire in the woods up the banks of the Rocky River in Berea, Ohio.
David and Renate Jakupca, welcomed into their woods these social refugees, some staying for only a day, some for years, but always around the Fire. Meanwhile, the campfire reputation as an avant-garde cultural center continued to grow, drawing the likes of sculptor John Puskas, adventurer poet Daniel Thompson, activist Ione Biggs, and environmentalist John Perera, writer Barb Sherwood, socialite Pat Hitt as well as other members of the international community. This fringe establishment became a lay convent for free thinkers and international intellectuals seeking connections between humankind, nature, culture and the universe, where, later in 1987, it all formed into the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) organization.
One of the main benefits of the campfire was transformation. Another was connection. From ancient times, the simple act of gathering with others around a fire changes you…..and your way of thinking. There’s something about the Fire that connects us with the Universe around us in a way nothing else can. You bring your distractions, confusion and problems to the Fire, and somehow they burn away and become a little clearer and may even resolve of their own accord. Others may be able to assist you or you may be of help to others in clearing up everyday distractions. You stop pushing against life and begin, and like a small stone in the river below, to let life move you to the place where you belong..
|Community Roast at the ARK in Berea|
After a few years, a new safer fire pit site was built further up and the old one became primarily a cooking fire. ‘Anything with a bone’ was usually on the roasting menu, and the weekly Stone Soup meals could include almost anything…even road kill. But over the years, the sides of the mud cliff kept on falling down and it became too dangerous to walk down the path to the Main Scenic Route MSR. So, cement steps were added, a retaining wall was built and now after 37 years, and in 2013 the ole’ campfire pit is being made into a cement puddle. A new wood burning stove will have to be built for cooking, maybe something along the lines that Alex Bevan uses.
As part of the Iceality Silver Revelation, North East Ohio Area has been 'branded' as the Home of the Environmental Art(s) Movement by the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) http://theicea.com/page25
ARK in Berea
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