Posts Tagged ‘Tucson’

Opening Reception for “Tikkun Olam: A Restoration Project 2011”

The “Tikkun Olam: Artists Respond to Earth’s Crises Past and Present” art show opened Thursday, and I just returned from the opening reception. What a delight! I haven’t “done” a reception where I have had a piece entered into the show, and it was a lot of fun walking around, listening to comments, and then actually have someone ask to meet the artist – me! And…the organizers of the show were really intrigued with the process of marbling and the creation of the piece. So that makes me feel really great.

Mickey Bond is one of the organizing artists for this project, and she’s from Santa Fe. You can check her out here. She not only has a show in Santa Fe right now, but she’s here to hang this show and attend the reception. I love this part of her artist statement:

“My mixed media series explore the mystery of creation by enabling nature’s influence on my paint and media. Winter’s freezing temperatures provide the chance to freeze paint, elicit frost crystals and create a unique kind of crackle in frozen polymer mediums. I’ve discovered that the surface of clayboard behaves like cold glass on a wintry night, providing (with my help) the right conditions for ice crystals to form delicate patterns and for acrylic media to freeze and splinter into organic crackles and snake skin designs.” (from her website)

Rebecca O’Day is an artist in Tubac, AZ, and is also organizing this show. I apologize to Rebecca, but the photos I took of her work were very blurry.

Also having work in the show is quilt artist Katie Pasquini Masopust. Three LARGE quilts plus some great new work on the redwoods, and the canyons.

And now, some shots of the overall show – each piece on the wall is 12 inches by 1 inches – forming a really nice grid. One hundred artists from around the world with statements about our planet.

If you are in Southern Arizona between now and October 25, you need to stop by the Jewish Community Center and view the show.

Art from the Heart – My Entry

I finished my entry for Art from the Heart today. This was a tough piece to do, but it had to be done. It started last Sunday, the day after the Tucson shootings. I wanted to do the Journal Project from 3 Creative Studios, and my goal I set was to work in a 8.5 by 11 inch piece, using only scraps from  my stash.

Well, last Sunday I was in deep depression over the shootings and had to work with some fabric. I pulled some blacks that looked like barriers, fencing. One looked like chicken wire, and one like barbed wire. Black and white, barriers. I used the traditional courthouse steps pattern from quilting, and then used red thread for “blood” to stitch those into place. I was staying pretty literal at that point.

From there I wanted to look at the words and ideas that continue to divide us as a country, but I didn’t want it to just be words. What about action on our parts? I printed out the words on white fabric and then sewed them to the background. If you look at the words closely, you’ll see I used a large needle with very fine thread, as I wanted the needle holes to show…like the bullet holes that wound us.

I actually had trouble coming up with the words to use. So many words I thought of are far more inflammatory than I wanted for this piece. I wanted more general terms that would not cause people to fixate on them and get angry. Yes, the vitriol is heating up, but the purpose of this piece is not to add to the anger. I included left-wing as well as right-wing, and if you look, they are on the opposite sides of the quilt. This needs to be about “us,” not “we” and “them.”

I knew I would have a candle with a flame to illuminate the darkness. Again I printed out the names of the shooting victims. I know from visiting the Vietnam Memorial how powerful names can be, and I do not want us ever to forget these six people. I want their lives to shine down on us and help us overcome these horrible things that divide us. I used three different colors of metallic threads to develop the light from the candle. It doesn’t photograph as brightly as it actually is, so I may still add more  strands of candle light.

I don’t think – in fact, I know – I’m not done. There is more I need to say through fabric, but I need to get a week or so of distance for myself, as well as work on the website. Plus, I am having to think through my own issues with some of these words – monitor my own language and actions.

The Events in Tucson, Part 4

We made it through the week, but not without a lot of extra angst. We planned on Thursday what we would do to keep the kids save if the WBC protested outside out school. It is not easy trying to convince teenagers that doing nothing is the best course of action.

I got to school on Friday at 6:45 AM to find several police cars already in front of the school. That was a comforting sight. Those of us volunteering met in front of the school, only to hear that the WBC members hadn’t gotten on the plane to leave Kansas, so good news for us. The police wanted us to stay through the next half hour to help students enter in case others decided to show and protest.

When we went back out, the Angels were across the street. This is a group of people who show to protect groups from the WBC protests. They do this around the country, and specifically in Tucson to keep the families of shooting victims from having to see the hate.

I got tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful site, these people who don’t know us who came to protect our students from these hate-filled people. The kids thought they were the “bad guys,” and so we were explaining to them this whole situation. A lot of students were convinced they were the KKK, so yet again we had interesting discussions in class, rather than doing a lot of math.

Everyone was tired, and it was certainly difficult maintaining the usual classroom decorum, but as I’ve said, sometimes systems of equations take a backseat to life. I’m still feeling very raw about everything, but I’ve been getting good feedback for the Art from the Heart project. I spent a few hours today working on my piece, and I should be able to finish it up tomorrow. It is raw, like my emotions, but I think it conveys a powerful message. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.

The Events in Tucson, Part 3

Being a teacher is hard work at the best of times, but this week is definitely one for the books. Dealing with your own emotions in a time like this is hard, but trying to help teenagers understand the ramifications of their own actions as well as trying to understand the motivations of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church – well, it’s a supreme challenge.

At 7:30  this morning is news that the WBC will be picketing my high school on Friday to protest our ethnic studies programs. Oh, good. How do you explain to young people whose brains are not yet fully developed to make good choices that they will be confronted with hateful messages and they shouldn’t respond? In my classes, after managing to get some math accomplished, the questions just kept coming. Why are these people coming to our school? Do they hate us? Why do they say that God is glad little Christina is dead? Can we protest? Why do these people hate Mexicans? Are they really Christians?

Wow. Makes finding the equation of a line using only two points pretty insignificant. How do you get kids this age to understand the wackos who spew hatred deliberately to inflame and sue and collect damages, regardless of whom they hurt. My high school has amazing students within such incredible diversity: we have a support group for homosexual students, we have strong ethnic studies classes that help students understand their own diverse cultural backgrounds, we have fine arts programs to rival small colleges, and we have students who are organizing to present a calm, peaceful face to these protestors.

But we also have kids for whom violence is a fact of life. Too many students here have lost loved ones through acts of violence. You tell them someone wants to cancel their classes because they’re a minority, and they want to lash out. It is so difficult – and so needed – to get the kids to listen to your message that what these people want is to have you react, to mess with you, to get you upset, and that the best way to cope and make a statement is to stay silent. They lose when you don’t respond.

So they leave my class after 30 minutes of intense discussion and historical background, and you wonder how much made sense, how many would reflect on this evil that will take over our sidewalks on Friday, and how much more can you as their teacher take? This has been a very hard week. So many questions, so few answers, so much hate.

I’m going to sit and watch the President. I need this.

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