Categories
Connection Presentation Uncategorized

Seekonk Public Library multigenerational event

I am so excited to share that the Seekonk Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have awarded me a grant to facilitate The Community Circle Project at the invitation of host  Seekonk Public Library in Massachusetts. The free virtual event will be on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. There will be two sessions, one for families and children at 5 p.m., and one for adults at 6:30 p.m.

The program will be held virtually via Zoom and is open to adults and families with children of all ages.

Participants in both sessions will engage in the relaxing project that I created that uses art making and conversation to build a sense of community. Using the simple shape of a circle and basic drawing supplies, we will create art that reflects our thoughts or feelings and shows us how we are connected to each other.

No art experience is necessary. Registration is required. Space is limited. All are welcome. I would love to see you there.

I am so thankful to the Seekonk Public Library for hosting this event and to the Seekonk Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for providing funding for the program. I want to especially thank Sharon Clarke (librarian, youth services) and Michelle Gario (senior librarian, adult services) for inviting me.

Categories
Presentation Remote learning Uncategorized

Family Paint Night

I continue to be so grateful for the opportunity to help create connections all over the country through The Community Circle Project. Friday evening, on February 26, it was my honor do this as the guest artist at “Paint Night: Your Family is a Work of Art.”

The virtual night of family art making was made possible by the generous support of a grant from the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools and the Office of Equity Advancement.

There are so many challenges in the world but, luckily, there are so many good people focused on positivity and connection. That long list includes the folks who made the paint night possible and  successful: Penelope Drown, a visual arts teacher at Charter Oak International Academy in West Hartford, Conn.; Pamela Murphy, visual arts supervisor for the district of West Hartford; and Timothy Kessler, secondary remote learning principal for the West Connecticut Public Schools.

Penelope first learned about The Community Circle Project from Nasco Education (where I facilitated the project during a Maker Monday event at the invitation of the wonderful Kris Bakke, customer engagement manager at Nasco Education). Penelope reached out to me to find out more, and that interaction led to my guest artist presentation during the Family Paint Night series.

It was so inspiring to work with Penelope, Pam and Tim. Their professionalism and passion for supporting families is truly impressive. I was touched to be virtually invited into the homes of nearly 30 families to engage in creativity and work on circles that highlight what family members value most.

Families are, indeed, a work of art. They are portraits of the past, the present and the dreams for the future. Families shape the world generation after generation with the choices made and the values that are passed forward. In that way, we are all a part of a global family.

During my presentation, I shared a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that perfectly expresses this idea (imagine the world if we all lived these words):

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.”

 

Categories
Connection DEI Reflection Social justice

Anniversary of The Community Circle Project debut

In the summer of 2019, I was asked to design an art engagement for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. event that is presented by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee of Greater Attleboro (Mass.). In response, I created The Community Circle Project to remind us all of our common humanity in the spirit of Dr. King and his dream for the world.

The project debuted at the 2020 event. The paintings that I created incorporating the work of the event participants were supposed to be exhibited in person, but the pandemic has put that on hold for now. So, I created this virtual reveal, part of which was shown at the organization’s 2021 virtual event on Jan. 18, 2021.

Fingers crossed that people will get to see the paintings in person sooner than later. In the meantime, this video presents an overview of the start of my contribution to the world. I believe that we can work together to make this the best place for all of us to thrive.

The Community Circle Project has grown and transformed since its debut, with the addition of facilitated conversation around important issues that illuminate the art making.

I facilitate virtual workshops as well as the creation of a large-scale collaborative paintings with corporate teams, community groups or nonprofits. Please contact me, if you are interested in booking an engagement—for fun art making, relationship building and support of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Follow on Instagram and Facebook, like and share. Spread the word.

Categories
Remote learning

Kelly Betz uses circles to connect during virtual class

This summer Kelly Betz, an art educator in the Glenwood Elementary School District of Greenfield, used the Community Circle Project during the district’s Virtual Summer School Program in Wisconsin. In the “Art Studio” she taught Betz engaged 25 students in grades three through six, ages  7 to 11, in creating circles.

She shared two circles here made by sixth grader Piper Schick and fourth grader Maddix Malkovich.

Decorative circle
By Piper Schick
Decorative circle
By Maddix Malkovich

“Due to the nature of virtual learning, connecting can be a struggle—especially in the case of my program, which had students from around the district whom I never met,” said Betz. “As a way to get to know the students, I gave them the prompt to create a circle about themselves our first day.”

Students we asked to create a self-portrait or favorite place in the center of the circle and then symbols about themselves along the outside rings. They could use as many symbols, patterns and designs as desired and whatever materials they wanted. 

“What drew me to using the Community Circle Project is that it has so many possibilities for what can be created and how learners can interpreted the idea,” Betz said. “Just the idea of a portrait and symbols gave such an amazing range of results and led to discussions about their symbols and why they picked them. It was beneficial in creating a connection between myself and these students whom I never met face to face.

“I became more than just a face on a screen telling them what to do; I became someone they could ask questions of and talk to about their day as we drew together. It created community and trust during our short time ‘together,’ which is extremely important with creating.”