“Crankies” with LexEngaged at William Wells Brown, April 12, 2017

I recently attended a Partners For Education sponsored workshop, led by two area teaching artists, on how to make a “crankie”.

17457853_1280041442051678_9017567170400449862_n

The miniature “crankie” I made at the March workshop in London, KY.

A crankie is a visual storytelling device, typically used to enhance music, spoken word, or storytelling.  The story is visually told on a scroll of paper or cloth, frame by frame, and a performer turns a handle to advance it (in this case they are lollipop sticks). Some crankies are large and elaborate, with a crank to advance the scroll. Thus the name “crankie”.

The workshop was so informative, so much fun — and so much a part of my art impetus towards narrative — that I decided to share this activity with the LexEngaged students from the University of Kentucky, and the kidz at William Wells Brown in Lexington on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

The Art Bag Lady In Appalachia

Where I work now. Beautiful.

Where I work now. Beautiful.

This is an aerial view of the place in which I now work.  It is as different as you could possibly imagine from the landscape, as well as the path my life has taken over the past six years. I still can’t believe I’m here.

Berea College, at the edge of Appalachia.

In early spring, I journeyed to this beautiful place. It was not my first visit to Berea, Kentucky, but it felt like I was seeing it for the first time. And myself in it, after a swift interview for an AmeriCorps VISTA position, and, back at the Boone Tavern, a brief read of a book about the mission and history of Berea College. Reading it made me feel at home for the first time in a long time.  Maybe forever.

Shortly afterward, I accepted a VISTA Leader position at Partners For Education. Then, in quick succession, a series of serious changes transformed my life. Some of them were politically driven — like the drying up of funding for teaching artists in after school and art enrichment programs in my (former) area. Some were personal.  And some of were physical — like discovering, purely by accident, that my heart was literally broken in a very small yet significant spot. And my knees are simply not as strong, or as flexible, as they used to be.

 

In any event after these and other travails, I am here, being of service and rebuilding my life again at my advanced age. And loving it.

Luna Moth captured on the screen @Middletown School, Berea College.

Luna Moth captured on the screen @Middletown School, Berea College.

More coming soon.

Life Stories, Life Lessons Update

Progress continues on the Life Stories/Life Lessons writing and art project, funded by the Kentucky Foundation For Women. Also find the KFW on Facebook!

On 1/5/2016 — before the wild winter weather set in — the elders at Redbanks Pleasant Pointe decided to write a personal note to the group of girls involved in the project via their after school program at the Henderson County Housing Authority.  The girls loved getting these “letters” written on the backs of old book covers, and were touched (and attended to!) the advice given by the elders. Then the girls responded during the week of 1/18/2016 with a collage of Loves and Hates, a topic currently being explored via poems and prose at Redbanks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also exchanged photographs — as bringing the two groups together had to be postponed due to the bad weather.  The girls were especially enthusiastic about doing this — and both groups were fascinated and excited to share photographs with each other.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Both groups can’t wait to actually meet!  But until we do we will continue this “pen pal” part of the Life Stories/Life Lessons project.  And a website is in the making as well!

 

Outreach with at-risk kidz, week of November 1

The Growth panel project is finished at Henderson’s Housing Authority after school program, and ready to hang.  Kids are now well into a self-portrait project using old vinyl records (which they love to paint!) and teaching me a lot about Instagram and selfies. Eventually we will be using photographs of ourselves to project and paint on the vinyl.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At Central Academy, I worked with two thoughtful girls on our first Life Stories/Life Lessons topic: Loves and Hates.  They are a little afraid of writing and reading their stories aloud, so instead we worked on cards that illustrated those concepts as they see them.  Some amazing images occurred. It was also interesting to discover how differently we interpreted each others images.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And at Henderson County High School’s CHEERS program we created assemblages in our spray painted cigar boxes.  Kids had never seen or experienced “art” like this before.  Nor had they every been given permission to purposefully trash things in order to embellish their boxes!  Originally this was to be a Louise Nevelson inspired wall sculpture.  But kidz got so attached to their objects I agreed we should leave them unpainted, and assembled freestanding in a horizontal line.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Got A Grant!

KFW Official Logo

KFW Official Logo

THANK YOU to the wonderful Kentucky Foundation for Women, for funding close to $4000 for my Life Stories/Life Lessons project connecting elderly women and girls through writing and art in Henderson, Kentucky! So excited about starting this project!!! Soon!!!