In the words of the ancient Persian poet Rumi, “Wherever you are, be the soul of that place.” Rebecca Hoffberger takes these words to heart and truly lives by them through her work at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM).
Rebecca is the founder, director, and principal curator of the AVAM, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. AVAM considers itself to be the “official national museum and education center for intuitive, self-taught artistry.”
Rebecca’s Sacred Place, the Meditation Chapel and Wildflower Garden, is a beautiful reflection of AVAM’s mission of displaying self-taught artistic expression.
The garden features winding pathways that are flanked by art from a myriad of different artists. There is a cascading water fountain wall by Ted Ludwiczak, complete with intricately carved stone heads that spout water. Walk a little further, and you’ll come across the Nature Sacred bench made by inmates for reflection and rumination. The bench is equipped with a journal for visitors to write their thoughts, struggles, and beliefs in, whatever releases their tension.
“Our visitors of many ages and cultural backgrounds have filled many volumes of Nature Sacred books. Their entries reflect humor, despair, confessions, love notes, as well as exquisite profundity.”
Often, patients from nearby Johns Hopkins will visit the meditation garden in search of tranquility, healing, and comfort.
“A young man with fourth stage cancer, whom we never met personally, felt so thankful specifically to his time in our garden sitting on the Nature Sacred bench, his siblings phoned to say he had included AVAM in his will. The fountain he so enjoyed made possible by a grant from Nature Sacred, bears his sweet name, Eric Stein.”
It is the passion, drive, and vision that Rebecca had in creating both the garden and the museum which has allowed it to thrive. Her work as a Firesoul is simply who she is: a person dedicated to healing and benefiting those around her, regardless of their relationship to her. Rebecca does what she does plainly because it is the right thing to do.
“A firesoul is devoted to transmutation and profound evolutionary greater good and the catching of that healing soul fire unto others.”