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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Graffiti hopes@ Jose de Diego school in Wynwood to hire art teachers


Should this school be shamed and refused funds?


Art starts to fill the corridors and transform the old white walls
On a beautiful morning, on bicycle, touring the Wynwood district to see the walls before the arts fairs start this week, we came across this local school swarming with artists. The story is poignant because Jose de Diego School is a school of almost 600 kids, 45% Latino and 54% black, located on the edge of the thriving arts district, that cannot afford any arts programs. The music and the arts programs have been cut completely for the last five years! They have a room full of 20 dusty keyboards and grand pianos and a closet full of art supplies, but they cannot afford to hire an art or music teacher! Because it is an "F" rated school, the chances of funds is non-existent. Enter the new principal, Dr. April Thompson-Williams, last February, and a young man named Robert de los Rios, creator of Wynwood Map. The principal refuses to be shamed, and Robert has a lot of connections to the artists in the community.
Robert and his mom, a former school teacher, talk to us about the project
This week 36+ artists from the neighborhood and around the world have arrived to paint the courtyards, the walls and hallways, throwing color all over the place.
This is a Sacred Place by LeBo
Their time is donated, their paint is sponsored, the lifts and ladders are on loan, and their hope is large. They paint during school hours and the biggest problem it has created so far is that kids linger outside their classes and ask to try their hand in moving the pigment. And many artists let them help.
These pictures show works in progress. Most of the murals are still being completed. The artists are all donating a smaller work to be auctioned off on December 2nd. Musicians will play and 100% of the funds will go to the principal to personally hire an arts teacher (or two or three).


Before
In process of transformation!

Magnus






Give voice to the arts

 
Can you imagine the joy and pride the students will have once their school resonates with colors and images to transform the mind. The walls will educate and inspire. I applaud the principal and school board for taking a risk, and the neighborhood artists for giving their time, and visionaries like Robert who use art to try and make a difference.
We should all look forward to checking back with the school to see the next chapter where the student's works are being developed...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A few who avoided the malls and came to paint

It has been a really nice day with lots of inspiration. I learned a bit today and am very thankful for the company and the insight into practical steps I have not seen. These are my friends. They make me laugh. They started by saying they could not paint, and were sure they would mess up. Yet within three house they focused and produced lovely, unique and beautiful works of art. Each one is so different!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Puppy Painting

Any day, like today, a 6 hour day, in the studio is worth at least one puppy painting! Oh Joy!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In praise of the ingredients of my offering

I have been making my offering to the gathering, a cranberry kuchen from my German grandmother's recipe. The process of putting the ingredients together is like a poem of gratitude and honor.
First of all: cranberries! If I were a locavore They would be out of reach, an exotic delicacy...which they really are. They only grow in acidic bogs in the northern hemisphere of the world. These come from Oregon...about as far away on the continent from Florida as you can get. I have to thank the truckers for bringing the harvest to market.

I then had to cream the butter with the Florida raw sugar. The butter made me think of my sweet baby sister who used to milk her cow (Martha) every morning, holiday or not! I think she made butter a few times, though I remember her cheese experiments better. As I soften the rectangles of butter back to a paste, I think of my sister and all the dairy maids working with the cows this morning.
Another ingredient like the sugar that is local and in season, is the orange! It is with pleasure I squeeze the juice out of the oranges. I make myself a glass of juice to drink while cooking.

Two of my most prized possessions, on my list of things I would grab if I needed to migrate quickly with only what I could carry, are Papa Frank's copper pot and Nick's wooden spoon. The pot was a wedding gift and has been the vessel for sustaining no-fail delicious meals for over half my life. It has all of my ex-father-in-law's love in it. The wooden spoon was a gift from an 8 year old boy fifteen years ago, an acknowledgement of a friendship I treasure. Whenever I use the spoon, I believe anything is possible.
The eggs are from the Country Hen and I love the story, the Farm News, that is included in every carton. It is a glimpse into the life of a farmer and his dreams for a healthy sustainable occupation. I remember my own chickens and the joy in finding their eggs. Each hen laid a different color and size. I loved the variation and someday I will have chickens again... But are these not beautiful????
As I worked in the flour and the baking powder I thought of the farmers all across the country. Seriously, if you are eating today you should thank a farmer!
I added a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of baking powder, oops.

While the kuchen cooked, I put some Baume des Pyrenees on my burn. It was, as my French grandmother told me, the perfect thing for burns. In fact it should heal quickly... Because the product is so good, the American medical establishment has lobbied for it not to be available in this country... as my grandmother said, "it would put them out of business".
Today we give thanks as a collective in the United States, taking a pause to reflect and acknowledge our blessings. There is power in gathering and, with your group, highlighting the positives. Some are gathering at football games or in dens to watch parades on TV, and others are gathering around a table of food.
Here is the cranberry kuchen, ready to travel!!! Love to everyone I can think of, and to all those I fail to be aware of. May your bellies be full.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Keeping the focus

My ex used to warn me that I should be careful of what I wished for. Our Thanksgiving holidays were family food filled events that were the culmination of days of chaos, guts and water. Literally. We processed turkeys for the holidays and after 4-5 days straight of the herculean task, my parents or my in-laws would be kind enough to serve us dinner as we collapsed in their arms. We'd bundle up in turtle necks and boots and, if the weather cooperated, go for a walk between dinner and desert. Who knew that a few short years later I would be sleeveless in Miami without a relative or a turkey in sight!
I had options, and yet, leading up to the holiday I just wanted, as always, to be alone. The idea of waking alone, lingering over my breakfast, spending the day in my studio and perhaps seeing some friends for cocktails was enough to be called "a great time". I wanted to sleep. In the studio today, I had a hard time letting go to the nostalgia, the wistful memories, and the need to be hugged, so I made this sign/painting for the ArtHouse.
What is it... about family, (and I am blessed to have one), that grounds us? Without them, I miss them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yuri Tuma and the PTS Fall Art Walk

Lucky for us, PTS Grad Yuri Tuma was available to come and speak to the students today as we showcased their work, half way through the year. Yuri Tuma shared the story of his art journey with the AP and digital art students. Since graduating a dozen years ago, his lucky breaks and his working discipline have brought him to this point of living the creative dream. He currently has a solo exhibition opening in Wynwood at the Butter Gallery that will be up through the Miami art fair week into January. His work is photographic geometric abstractions created from his love of architecture and by using mobile apps (cell phone technology). He shared a lot of great insight with us today, and even his belief of taking risks. At the Butter gallery Yuri painted his first wall. It brought back all he learned in high school math class! Over all Yuri



set the tone for the Art walk- Positive, creative, and optimistic about the future! We had great crowds. At times it was standing room only. I was very proud of my students...
This girl has learned to paint with her left, non-dominant, hand. This boy has entered every competition available, learning to work the guidelines and deal with rejection. Both kids, if they can keep the positive attitude and the work ethic, will go far in life.

Below a screen shot of a listing of the top ten artists to see at Miami Basel this year. Yuri Tuma is #2

Monday, November 24, 2014

Avoid the mall and come paint a gift in my studio


artists at work




I love being surrounded by creative people. Last Friday I could count both Michael and my advisee Rodrigo. They were making pictures for other people. "Picture Orders", is how Michael calls it. Wish more people could see....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Art Therapy for Dealing with Difficult Situations

I love my job. It has been a blessing in a thousand ways. It is a place where I learn and I teach. As in Life, some lessons are harder than others. There is a current cultural shift happening at work due to the new administration, and it can be difficult to accept. Recently, upon hearing a new decision mandated from above, I found my heart pounding and my emotions mired in a stew of negativity. My opinions hardly matter or even make a difference, so I went to the one place where I have a voice- my studio.
At the studio I started with a piece of paper that had been pressed into the paint filled art room sink, lifting off a print of fluid colors. It was kind of like a Rorschach's Blot.
The first thing I painted into the center cleared space, was an anatomical heart. It sat on the page like a face- so I added the shoulders, and more arteries and veins for hair. I felt as though in a dream, dealing with some momentous news, so I added another character- the bird on my shoulder whispering into the Inferior Vena Cava. The news kept revolving and churning through my heart/head, and I felt a series of emotions; anger, rage, sadness, despair, and exhaustion.
Just as I was cleaning the brushes, and turning off the lights, I realized that the day was beautiful...The skies outside were sparkly. There were so many more blessings I could feel, having given myself the space and the time to feel what needed to be felt, and then putting it aside.
There is a way to take information and accept what cannot be changed, change what can be changed, and like the al-anon Serenity Prayer: look for the wisdom to know the difference!
That is when I painted the blue bird shooting out the Pulmonary Artery. Blue for the sky, blue for hope, blue for peace... and the momentum is for courage and action!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Student face time

My drawing class and my painting classes have arrived at that magical time in the semester when they can look in the mirror and see who they are. I am trying to help them capture it.