Looking Behind and Moving Ahead


The Future road sign picLast Saturday’s Roots Rock & Soul event marked the culmination of our fall series at The Historic Victory Grill. We brought together a host of amazing musicians – many of whom we first got to know last fall on our Sunday Stage – for a soulful celebration honoring the fine work of Capitol View Arts. It was a glorious finale to a deep season of conversation, creativity, connection, and community. We at The Front Porch owe a profound debt of gratitude to Capitol View Arts and The Historic Victory Grill for providing us a place to call home. Over the past few months, we have come to know the VG crew – Clifford, Alissa, Abel, Joseph, Nicole, Jason, Ron – not only as friends, but as family.

If there is one word that springs to mind when we reflect on our fall series, it is “learning.” During our Sunday Salon gatherings, we learned what it means to dwell together in dialogue. We learned to be open and vulnerable, to share our own hard-won ideas and perspectives while honoring those of others – even those with whom we might strongly disagree. We learned that beauty, truth, and meaning are not conceptual objects that we can determine, define, and possess, but evolving relational realities that continually emerge among and between us.

On the Sunday Stage, we heard from some of Austin’s finest musicians and learned about the challenges and opportunities they face. We learned that those who seek to make a living as musicians in “The Live Music Capital of the World” often have a harder time of it than those in less musically savvy cities. We learned about organizations like the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Capitol View Arts, Patronism.com, and the Live Music Capital Foundation, each of which works in its own unique way to ensure that  musicians can live their lives as they work toward living their dream. Perhaps above all, we learned anew that music is food for the soul and fodder for community building, that nothing brings people together like the shared experience of song.

So we learned a great deal this past fall. And we continue to learn. Indeed, The Front Porch is “a learning organization.” In his book The Fifth Discpline, Peter Senge defines a learning organization as “an organization where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together” (Senge 1990: 3). That pretty well sums up The Front Porch ethos. We are learners, pupils, wayfarers, pilgrims – we are wandering wonderers on an ever-winding road. Where will the road lead? It’s impossible to say. But that’s what gives inspiration and energy to the quest. We can’t begin to say with certainty what the future holds. It could be that reality fails to live up to our deepest dreams. Then again, reality might very well outpace them. That’s the joy of the journey; that’s the beauty of the unknown.

As we look ahead, we do know this: we will continue to learn, to grow, to emerge, to evolve. With your help, we will continue to co-create something – a way of talking, a way of gathering, a way of thinking, a way of being – that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Whether it’s our upcoming Lenten Series at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, or the new incarnation of the Sunday Salon, or our ongoing efforts to acquire our own permanent café and event space, we hope you will partner with us to cultivate community, one conversation at a time.



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