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.

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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.

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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!

 

More than busy work @Art In The Margins!

Shelter guests @United Caring Shelters Art In The Margins wrapped up 2015 by writing holiday cards to distant loved ones.  I provided everything necessary: the cards, writing and art supplies, and stamps. But I never thought I’d have so many participants in this rather craft-like art activity.

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At least a dozen Art In The Margins participants took advantage of this opportunity to re-  or temporarily – connect with loved ones, some of them clearly long lost. For example, a young woman with a child in her lap called her mother in Texas for her current address.  The volume on her mobile phone was turned up, so I could hear her mother’s tone of shock and surprise at both the phone call, and the question.  And although it was a very short exchange of information that seemed to end abruptly, there was nothing negative about it.

A homeless couple came into The Annex together and made cards for each other. I witnessed the loving exchange, which involved hugs, and tears.

I also met a half dozen shelter guests, mostly male, whom I had never before been able to coax into The Annex, and all because they wanted to share holiday greetings with estranged loved ones. It was indeed an honor to mail the many cards that were entrusted to my care.

As an alternate AIM activity, I finally opened the first of several puzzles that were donated some time ago by the former executive director. At issue was commandeering and keeping set up a (hopefully undisturbed!) table in the Annex for this purpose.  But so far, and through several White Flags (when UCS is open to all, with sleeping palettes on the floor) our puzzles have emerged unscathed.

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And… As I both witnessed and learned from this Internet article: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/The_Healing_Power_of_Jigsaw_Puzzles.html…jigsaw puzzles are not just busy work. They are powerful healing and learning tools!

And last but absolutely not least, I must thank a lovely lady who donated several hundred dollars worth of beautiful adult coloring books and gel pens that AIM guests (and girls in an after school program in Henderson KY) have been enthusiastically using for relaxation and contemplation.  Again…the unexpected healing power of art!

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Me in Evansville Living, November/December 2015

Photo from Evansville Living, Nov/Dec 2015 issue

Photo from Evansville Living, Nov/Dec 2015 issue

Thanks to Trista and Heather (a former University of Evansville student from long ago!) for the wonderful photograph and article in Evansville Living about my work as a teaching artist in Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky! So honored. See the article here:

http://www.evansvilleliving.com/articles/art-therapy

 

 

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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Success of UCS/Art In The Margins stained glass project!

We sold over $200.00 worth of mosaic stained glass at the recent Haynie’s Corner/22 Jefferson YART sale, all created by Art In The Margins artists at United Caring Shelters Day Shelter. So we are busy working on more for the upcoming holiday First Fridays!

Proceeds from AIM artist artworks go directly to the artists themselves, or to fund the unique program I facilitate at the shelter.

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Art In The Margins at YART!

Thanks to YART and 22 Jefferson Gallery/Studios for inviting me to be part of a very successful yard art sale in the Haynie’s Corner Arts District, Evansville IN, on Saturday, October 17!  Art In The Margins sold all but two small stained glass pieces, as well as a medium-sized sunburst, earning hundreds in funding for the homeless/outsider artists I serve at United Caring Shelters.  I also sold one of my large artworks. That will help keep me in the studio at 22 Jefferson through the end of this year, promoting awareness and support for alternative artists in the area!

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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!!!

Preparations for Art In The Margins, Extended Version !

Art In The Margins Logo

Art In The Margins Logo

Met with ARTSWIN (Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana) staff on Friday 8/1/14 to discuss specifics of the upcoming exhibit.

Details:
Art In The Margins, an exhibit of accomplished artworks by the homeless community, facilitated by Julie Struck, local teaching artist and art/creative activist.

Where and When:
The Bower-Surheinrich Foundation Gallery, 318 Main Street, Evansville, Indiana, September 16-28, 2014. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment on Monday.

Reception: Saturday September 20 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the gallery.

Please call: 812-422-2111 for more information, or email Julie Struck at theartbaglady@gmail.com.

Getting Empowerment Artworks Out

Paintings by homeless shelter resident

Paintings by homeless shelter resident

I will soon be partnering with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana to hold an exhibition of the many accomplished, therapeutic as well as interesting artworks created by participants at the United Caring Services Day Shelter and Ruth’s House.  A collaborative piece created by the women at the YWCA shelters may also be a part of that upcoming exhibition.  I will update as more information becomes available!