About the Book

Art and religion, before they were separated into industries, tended to our spiritual needs and interests. They still can. Tending the Perennials uncovers what we already know about creating greater meaning and joy in everyday life. We know because the perennial human truths still matter, still work for us, even though we lose grasp of them in the churn of modern life. In Tending the Perennials, renowned teaching artist Eric Booth helps us activate our natural competence and pleasure in the creation of art and spirituality. When we engage in the ways Booth suggests, we gently create a personal religion—a way to create a life that resonates with what matters most.


From the introduction…

“In the four years of writing The Everyday Work of Art (1997), I came to see the natural, overlooked artistic abilities, the verbs of art, that all of us have and use to create the greatest satisfactions in our lives. I noticed that bookstores tended to stock it in the “spirituality” section, even though the publisher indicated to shelve it with either “art” or “self-help.” That pattern intrigued me and sparked further thinking about the spiritual themes in that book…”

From page 17…

“Spiritual and artistic experiences do not just happen to us; we create them. Whether consciously or not, we create our spiritual experiences using the same internal abilities and processes that we use to create artistic experiences…”


From page 47…

“The U.S. is a literal place; we tend to lean away from things that cannot quite be named. We resist experiences that are slow, subtle, indefinite and deep—which happen to be the experiences that matter, that promote growth, that change us. Americans usually have little patience for the slow process of describing something that is hard to grasp. Americans are uncomfortable with issues that preclude correct answers, and with objects (like art works) that require our participation to understand…”


A motivational work guides readers in constructing a rewarding personal religion. … his approach is accessible and illuminating. He manages to present his findings not as some secret or mystery to which he holds the key, but rather as the intellectual heritage of humankind that all have access to if only they frame it in the correct way. … Booth—whose personal anecdotes seem to allude to a learned, well-traveled man of health and leisure—deftly delivers his notions, and his words read as common-sense advice freely given. … An inviting and well-stocked greenhouse of applicable concepts from humanity’s artistic and spiritual traditions.

Kirkus Reviews

One person paints while the other prays: two separate forms of expression, but perhaps not so different as they might seem. In his most recent book, teaching artist Eric Booth bridges the gap between art and religion and examines the similarities between the two. ``Religion is the work of art in the medium of spirit,`` Booth claims. In this collection of philosophical monologues, Booth draws analogies that liken the artistic process to the curation of one's own bespoke spirituality. He breaks down traditional notions, providing strategies to rewire one's thinking and ultimately offering an alternative path for spirituality.

Chronogram Magazine

About the author

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Eric Booth is the author of six previous books, including The Everyday Work of Art, Playing for Their Lives (co-authored with Tricia Tunstall) and The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible. He is widely called “the father of the teaching artist profession,” has received the nation’s highest award in arts education, and has spent many years on the faculties of Juilliard, Lincoln Center Education, The Kennedy Center, and Tanglewood.

He is a frequent keynote speaker, project leader and workshop teacher, around the world. His personal website, with many essays and other writings available free is: ericbooth.net. You can find out more about Eric at: ericbooth.net/about.

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Other books by Eric Booth