“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”.

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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.

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Visiting VISTAS, Cumberland, KY, October 1, 2016

Alexia  Ault showing me sorghum processing

Alexia Ault showing me sorghum processing

Many thanks to Partners For Education/Berea College Higher Ground VISTAS for inviting me to the Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’/Black Bear Festival on October 1 to watch sorghum processing — and attend a lively and hilarious performance of Life Is A Vapor at The Godbey Appalachian Center at Southeast KY Community and Technical College.

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I missed the milling part, but no big deal…it was done by machine instead of the usual mule! Alexia, our Higher Ground VISTA showed me how the sorghum is cooked and reduced, and the green gunk and foam at the top of the boiling/simmering vat skimmed off. Eventually a smoky/sweet tasting molasses is produced — which I got to taste with a “dipper”, a piece of cane hacked off with a knife by Applachian Center Director Robert Gipe.

I also got a tour of the festival as well as of the fine arts building — which is graced by this beautiful text based and storytelling themed mural. The second, figurative mural was created by many hands, each taking charge of a tile, which gives the overall piece an authenticity and energy not found in more “technically perfect” murals. I loved them both.

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Then, at 6:30 p.m., I attended a Higher Ground performance of “Life Is A Vapor”. According to VISTAS Alexia Ault and Cassidy Wright, Higher Ground productions are written by the performers themselves, and based on real people known by the cast and community — so they are really about life stories. And by the way, I didn’t think I was up to seeing a play about a funeral — but it was hilarious and touching.

 

Higher Ground about to perform Life Is A Vapor

Higher Ground about to perform Life Is A Vapor

Life Is A Vapor poster designed by Cassidy Wright

Life Is A Vapor poster designed by Cassidy Wright

The Art Bag Lady, week in review 10/26/15

We are making great progress on our “Growth” collaborative painting at the Henderson County Housing Authority. Kidz helped re-purpose old crayons into encaustic paint using linseed oil and heat, including use of a hair dryer that two girlz commandeered for the better part of Wednesday. They also watched with amazement as (after covering it with sprayed text) we brought back our original tree structure by emphasizing it with the dripped encaustic.  We are adding words of growth and encouragement to the borders too, using sponging stencil techniques — taught to us by one of the kidz!

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Life Stories/Life Lessons, funded by the Kentucky Foundation For Women commenced at Redbanks Pleasant Pointe and with four new members of our autobiography writing group!  I was so pleased to discover that two of them completed the current writing project — Family –.  Another, after listening to others read their writings, spoke aloud about being bullied at school, as well as her love for her younger brothers.  I thought about those themes while presenting Life Stories/Life Lessons to girlz at Central Academy for the first time on Thursday, looking forward to December when the plan is to bring the elderly women and at-risk girls together to share stories on similar themes.

The girlz, however, began with art instead of writing — personalizing the covers of their visual journals. Their first theme: Loves and Hates!

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Our boxes are coming along at Henderson County High School’s Cheers program too! On Thursday we sprayed the inside and stenciled the outsides of re-purposed cigar boxes, then sifted through significant “junk” that we will be gluing inside the boxes. We will then spray all a solid color.  The plan: to make a Louise Nevelson inspired wall sculpture using objects of significance to us.

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Art Enrichment with at-risk kidz in Henderson, week of 9/14/15

We are getting close to completing both murals at Central Academy in Henderson, KY!  We also had a guest graffiti artist visit the Housing Authority, CA and Henderson County High School’s CHEERS after school program on 9/16 and 9/17/15.  The kidz loved learning about graffiti styles from a veteran who knows first hand about graffiti, and kidz like them.

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At-risk kidz outreach, week of September 1, 2015

My first week at Henderson County Housing Authority, working with an energetic group of middle and high school kidz! We will be meeting twice per week at the wonderful CAT center facility. Our first project: zentangle-like name designs. A similar project is taking place at CHEERS via Work of Art @Henderson County High School, where I also returned on 9/3. How I missed those kidz over the summer!

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Six kidz helped with the Central Academy middle school hallway mural on Thursday, Sept. 3 — all afternoon, until the bell rang (2.5 hours).  During that time an Evansville police officer paused, commented, and was invited to paint! Also talked with A, a talented high school mural artist while working on his version of the eagle in the high school hallway. Impressive!

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New Studio in Haynie’s Corner

I am so pleased to be part of Evansville Indiana’s arts district, by way of my first private studio space since graduate school!  Thanks to 22 Jefferson‘s owner Anna Maria Whetstine for inviting me, and to Emily Gartner of Arts Beats Eats for connecting us!

My new studio space at 22 Jefferson, Evansville IN

My new studio space at 22 Jefferson, Evansville IN

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!!!