A group of about twenty EKU freshman and leaders in the First Year Experience program helped me finish our multi-panel mural project on December 5, 2019 in EKU’s beautiful Noel Studios. This was the last of four fall sessions, strategically chosen for their position on the academic calendar during challenging times (first weeks of term, pre-fall break, mid-terms, finals). The purpose of the mural project was to provide a quiet, mindful space to create without judgment, as well as teach the participants how taking creative risks can help them learn to be more resilient during tough times and challenging situations. We often can’t change what’s happening, but we can choose how we feel about and deal with it!
As with all my community art projects, participants help design and execute the project. My single contribution to the mural was the word “resilience” — and sponging paint around the edges. Participants collectively and collaboratively chose the color scheme, shapes and their position, and choice and placement of additional handwritten words.
As usual at each session there were folks reluctant to participate who were soon drawing and painting with finesse and gusto. Also as usual we talked while we worked, and about many things including the myth of mistakes (they are really opportunities) and ownership issues when one is working on a collaborative artwork (meaning giving up control, which can be freeing instead of frustrating).
I look forward to similar projects in the upcoming new year!!
On October 30, 2019 I felt I made significant inroads on Hold Up Hold On!, a community art mural project centered on youth resilience and mental health awareness. See the HUHO! page for details.
It has been three years since I was a full-time teaching artist in after school programs, so I am getting up to speed in a hurry on student engagement, which has become even more challenging. I initially hoped for a single, well attended event where we gathered photographs and text — but we got no takers even though we (my creative female team of a high school and Berea College student) distributed postcards and did an informational tabling outside of the cafeteria. But I don’t give up easy, if at all.
Yesterday I was invited into an art classroom to talk to kids face to face, and pitch the project. As always, it was satisfying and stunning to see how some reacted. And we got a participant in the afternoon who helped us brainstorm and update our mural composition. Read more about the experience in the blog!
I am proud to be a part of Artvention, the post-vention suicide survivors event I helped create in 2017 and facilitated again in 2018. New this year are video recordings of participants as they worked; I felt very honored to received their stories. Dedicated to Owen Carl Chaney, whose death taught me much about life and love.
Lots of artistic activity at 22 Jefferson Studio/GalleryHaynie’s Corner, Evansville, Indiana on First Friday 9/4/15. Had a good turnout, despite the heat. Two United Caring Services shelter guests appeared to help out during the reception, which included a display of Art In The Margins artworks from United Caring Services/Shelter ‘s Art In The Annex program. A mosaic stained glass piece created by a shelter guest sold, along with many other small works of art and photography by the artist shown in the main gallery. And the evening ended with entertainment across the street from 22 Jefferson, on the tightropes!
Here’s the windows, designed by me and painted by kids and parents on Saturday 6/13/15 in Central Park @ the opening of The W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival in Henderson, KY. Thanks to Downtown Henderson Partnership, who found venues to display them through the week of the festival!