Claim it: Act like it.

Community art piece painted at Recovery Day September 12 2015 - to be donated to VOA new Teen shelter.

Community art piece painted at Recovery Day September 12 2015 – to be donated to VOA new Teen shelter.

I came today with written and visual proof.

Because what good is a claim without action to back it up?

Why I haven’t made this connection yet, I don’t know.  But it feels like a revealing puzzle piece.  From the beginning I have been asking myself, “What should we do with this grant?”  Of course we take it a step beyond asking students to make claims.  The next question is:  What are you going to do about it?

For example:  I claim to be an artist.

Action:  I showed them my sketch book.  I also brought a slide show of community art pieces I have facilitated over the last 5 years.

Many of the pieces have been donated to local institutions.  Namely Palmer Court which is a more permanent residence for people coming from the Road Home.  They can gain assistance with education, job placement and parenting resources.  I was reminded of how a simple piece of art can open a dialogue about our world.

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Art piece by Palmer Court residents 2013

We talked about a lot of things.  Homelessness.  Family.  Soccer…of course.  They taught me to say “People who are Homeless”  rather than “Homeless People.”

My students taught me they are people first and homeless second.  I should have known this, but I didn’t.  I had never thought about it.  I thanked them for the lesson.

Then we made drawings of the 9 Line Pump track.  I asked them to think in pictures.  I acknowledged this can be hard.  Just start.  That’s the toughest part.  We tried to imagine what to put into the space and I was reminded, once again, how hard it is to create something out of nothing.  Yet, I was impressed with their level of engagement.  They asked questions and worked until the end of class.  In little clumps they discussed the project and swapped ideas.

 

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Painting made by residents at Palmer Court and displayed on site 2012

finished mural at FTR

finished mural at FTR