Art Party at Bridge Meadows

I’m slowly making progress in my quest to get more time to write and blog.  It’s amazing how a few commitments and promises can escalate into months of “busy-ness.”  

I haven’t written about my community in a while, so I thought I’d share this today.  I live at Bridge Meadows an intergenerational community that supports families adopting foster children.  That means within one block of me are 9 families adopting 3 or more children out of the foster system, so I have 27 kids under 15 in my neighborhood.  I get to be a storyteller and teach kids creative writing and drawing. 
I’m also a member of the Oregon Women’s Caucus for Art .  On Sunday, Oct 28th, 5 members did their community outreach program here.  Five artists brought paint, paper, clay and potatoes and gave kids a big dose of creativity.  Harriet Levi taught kids how to make prints with everyday objects, including the humble potato.  Catherine Miller gave a mini-workshop on turning emotions into clay shapes.  KarenSwallow taught bead making and paper folding.  Naomi Segal Deitz did charcoal drawing. Carolyn Landon helped out at all the art tables and I taught kids how to make masks from paper plates.
The kids had a blast.  We had ages 4 to 14, and even some of the adults in the community got involved.  The artists all took special care to work with Tatum, a 9 year old, who less than a year ago, contracted a virus that left her with quadriplegia and blindness, but left her light heart and loving spirit in tact.  She is doing well in physical therapy and she’s an inspiration to us all.  She was an eager student at every table.  When she made a mask with me, she wanted to know the color of everything, not just the paints and feathers, but the scissors and hole puncher.  
Guests and extended family members attended and everyone got a boost in their creative juices.  Of course, all little kids are naturally creative, but many older kids and almost all adults think they can’t do art because they can’t draw or they think have no talent. 
The artists rekindled some of that childhood confidence, and the pleasure in playing with color and cool art supplies.  Lessons in texture, abstraction, and visual thinking relaxed reluctant participants.

The artists were delighted at the enthusiasm and the talent of the kids.  There were lots of “oohs” and “aahs” and exclamations of “cool” all afternoon.  Almost all the kids wanted to keep their disposable aprons – a sure sign they were eager to play with paint in the future.  It was the most fun I had all month — playing with kids is sooo good for the soul.

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