The Franciscan Spirituality Center, 920 Market St., offers programs in April that explore creative expression, spiritual reflection and compassion for self and others. All are welcome, regardless of religious background, and no previous artistic experience is necessary. Registration information is available at www.fscenter.org or 608-791-5295.
A Brush with Silence: An Introduction to Zen Brush Meditation: Experience the combination of brush, ink and paper during these four introductory sessions of shodo, or the way of the brush, with presenter Tom Roberts. Participants will be able to explore the many aspects of using Zen brushes as a meditative tool and create meaningful Japanese shodo ideograms that express their individual and creative selves. All materials will be supplied. Cost is $95 for the four-week series. (6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, April 5-26)
Japanese Bowls: Embracing Our Imperfections with Grace and Courage: The Japanese art of kintsugi takes broken pottery and repairs the cracks with gold. These restored bowls, once considered worthless, become treasured items of great worth and beauty. This art will be used as a symbol of the spiritual life during this weekend retreat led by Steve Spilde and Deb Hansen that combines creative expression, presentation, individual reflection and small-group processing. Cost is $145 for overnight retreat and $95 for commuters. (7 p.m. Friday, April 6, through 4 p.m. Saturday, April 7)
Poetics of Space: This four-week series led by Jan Wellik combines creative expression and outdoor exploration. Participants will explore the river (Goose Island), forest (Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe), marsh (Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge) and bluffs (La Crosse Blufflands-Mathy Property), while considering ideas inspired by “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard. Participants also will be able to try a variety of art mediums at each space and have the option of staying after the workshops to meet for a social hour at a nearby restaurant. Cost is $15 for each session; come to one or all as scheduling permits. (6 to 8 p.m. Fridays, April 6-27)