Upward Bound at EKU

Reminder on stairs in art building, EKU campus, Richmond KY

I had the pleasure of connecting with Eastern Kentucky University’s Upward Bound program in June and July 2017, and worked with many amazing, promising young people as a result and on several innovative art projects!

Our first project: Create a sign like those that the homeless carry, but put on it something about oneself that viewers couldn’t possibly know by simply seeing you. This yielded many touching and surprising confessions.

What You Don’t Know Is…signs by Upward Bound EKU students, summer 2017

Project 2: Create an artist book out of paper bags, and begin cover art on it. During this project I discovered how many creative types I had!

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Project 3: Thanks to a PFE sponsored artist workshop I attended as a VISTA Leader, I shared with enthusiastic Upward Bound kidz the construction of miniature “crankies” — storytelling devices used during music and vocal performances to better engage audiences.

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Project 4: Tagging, stencil cutting and spraying! Upward Bound @EKU students learned about the style of graffiti alphabets, how to brainstorm and create their own tag, the fundamentals of stencil cutting (which is more complicated that one might guess!), then sprayed their creations. A lot of these kidz already had impressive spraying skillz!

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Summer 2017 work with Living Art and Science Center, Lexington

Sprayed banner, detail, Street Smart Art

I recently joined a group of amazing teaching artists at the Living Art and Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Their mission is in perfect alignment with mine: “engaging the community through education, discovery, exploration and creativity….collaborative experiences for the community, and educational programs in schools, community centers, and other venues to reach special needs, at risk and underserved children and adults”.
I am so excited to be part of this artistic community!

My first arts experience for 3rd-5th graders was Street Smart Art, introducing them to graffiti styles, vocabulary and (sanctioned!) activities.  We explored designing our initials, and transforming them into tags, we practiced tagging until we got it down to three seconds, we designed words expressive of ourselves in graffiti style, and we learned to cut stencils and spray them successfully. Some of the kidz had real skillz, apparent on the day we went outside and sprayed a panel and canvas banner.

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My second art experience with LASC kidz was ID Art — art about ourselves, from a fine art and design perspective. We explored our wishes and dreams with word and image collages, created logos, created designs for business cards, used the LASC gallery and the high school art exhibit for inspiration about the many ways to illustrate ourselves. Some kidz made free art at the end of each class period.  Coming up next: Crazy Creative Quilting!

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9/11 Day of Service, Part 2

Here are AmeriCorps/PartnerCorps VISTAS I support, gathering together to prepare rain barrels for community painting at the Celebrate The Harvest Festival in Berea, KY.

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We prepared several barrels for painting, added base coats to several more that had already been primed and applied line art to them so the community can have a fun, easy time finishing them with us on 9/10/16 at Sustainable Berea.

Success of art at UCS Jazz Shoes Blues Fundraiser

Glass artist David Powell, artist and AIM volunteer Owen Chaney, me and former UCS intern and social work candidate Charlotte Critchfield.

At Jazz, Shoes and Blues: Glass artist David Powell, artist and AIM volunteer Owen Chaney, me and former UCS intern and social work candidate Charlotte Critchfield.

All our hard work paid off (literally!) at United Caring Shelter’s Jazz Shoes and Blues fundraiser on April 2, 2016.  Pictured here are artists and volunteers, some of them homeless shelter guests, who were instrumental in the event as well as the design, creation and sales of art created at Art In The Annex and exhibited and sold at Art In The Margins the Zion Center For Spiritual Development and Healing.

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These folks and UCS also helped me meet my Pollination Project Impact Grant match, thereby helping me continue the life changing (for all of us!) art experiences I provide at UCS for the homeless, and in nearby Henderson, KY with at-risk youth and the elderly.  I can’t thank you enough!

Holiday Windows by kids in Henderson KY after school programs!

Thanks to Lacey a generous volunteer and participants in Art In the Margins at United Caring Shelters for the old single pane windows and designs, and to the CYJS program at Henderson County Public High school for helping to fund this fun and engaging project for Evansville’s homeless as well as kids at CHEERS and the after school program at Henderson County Housing Authority.  Look for an update on the installation of the Holiday Windows on Main Street in downtown Henderson soon!  And thanks to the Downtown Henderson Partnership for helping to make this happen!

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Outreach with at-risk kidz, week of October 19

The word for the week was SPRAY! Kidz at the Henderson County Housing Authority learned about stencils and spray paint via their multi-panel painting project. And check out the kidz creative use of Blick bags as aprons!

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We sprayed at Henderson County High School CHEERS after school program too, after roughing up old cigar boxes in preparation for a Louise Nevelson inspired 3D group installation project!  Some of the CHEERS kidz really got into the sanding too (although I find it a chore).

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And finally, finally we are finished with our PRIDE mural at Central Academy.  Kidz who participated got to sign off directly on it!  On to two new CA art enrichment projects: Girlz involved in my KFW funded Art Meets Activism autobiography project Life Stories/Life Lessons, and boyz on a similar Louise Nevelson inspired project!

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Art In The Annex @United Caring Shelters, September 2015

Hot, humid days have meant art inside the Annex, working on stained glass mosaics to be sold at upcoming art/craft fairs in Evansville, IN and Henderson KY, to benefit the Art in the Annex artists — some who participated in Haynie’s Corner’s Funk In the City on September 26! But the weather is moderating as we enter autumn, and that means more time on the smoking yard wall, which we expect to complete by November. We are working on two window wells (see the amazing dragon sketch planned for one of them!) and memorial benches for several homeless shelter residents who died in 2014/2015. I was also honored with a pencil portrait of me by artist Rick Lewis. So touched! Again, thanx for the friendliness, assistance and trust of those who voluntarily make artwork with me!

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Outreach with at-risk kidz, week of September 21

We are very close to finishing the gym mural at Central Academy! Not as exciting as the one in the middle school hallway (thus the boyz busy on graffiti signatures and other designs rather than helping much on the wall). But note these murals, created by A, independent of me, also at Central Academy!  At Henderson County High School we are assembling creative collages to adorn and advertise the CHEERS after school program. And at the Henderson Housing Authority we are creatively examining our heads via a contemporary “phrenology” project.

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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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