Oh, how the change of seasons forces me to be so contemplative! The cooling, crisp air all around and old, crunchy leaves on the ground make me think about the newness on the way. The dread of the upcoming holidays hit me, yet I also feel appreciative of the natural scenic makeovers. Every year, the outdoor transformations cause me reflect on the good things the warm season brought.
This summer marked another year spent with kids participating in Hidden Voices' and Blue Ribbon's Seeking the Self camp; Year Three. You may remember my recap posts in 2018 and 2017-- well, the team was able to come back once again, which is not something I take for granted at all. The fact that camp took place this year after coming close to not happening at all due to major changes in organizational structure and funding alone was something I was happy about. Thankfully, the third time was a charm. For the second time, I also joined TPPI/APPP's graduation celebration for a round of painting fun (group photo pictured above). The last time I did that was for their 2017 group (and I wrote about it here).
Below, I share more photos, a video, and summer memories related to Seeking The Self 2019.
The video below shows an overview of this year's STS Program.
The growth I got to witness in these kids during STS was super rewarding. As we worked with the students this summer, sharing other Artists' work and interpretations, I heard Will describe some of his work in a way I never experienced it before. I was inspired instantly. I wanted to try to replicate it his portrait style. I wanted to find out more. I got to see how many times he shared images of people with themselves as their own "twin" via his social media, and about how long he's been doing that. What I heard him say for the first time was that these portraits were all about love. Self love. The series was an investigation of what that self love look like. Below are some images he has shared in the past with one of my own following. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed; and please leave any questions or comments below if you have any!
Two years ago at this time, TYPE USA and See Why Designs were deep into planning and preparing to lead Canvas Creations for the very first time, which took place on September 10, 2016. We came together almost two weeks ago to "celebrate" that... but it was completely staged and the brainchild of my cousin, Michael Stewart (TV Personality seen on Lifetime's Love at First Flight). Not all attendees knew the secret, but he was using the event to be the perfect place to pop the big question to his then girlfriend, Britney. Many friends and family members joined to make this day special, and it was a real pleasure to be a part of it. Big thanks to Zweli's for serving as a great venue and everybody for showing up and making it a success. Photos are below, mostly captured by Esther of Esther Hicks Photography. Enjoy!
Art for Cause..
Going down Memory Lane today to share photos I took at an artist's exhibition at the Scrap Exchange three years ago. Beauty From Toxicity, by Denise Hughes, was a show created entirely by upcycled plastic and displayed in Durham from Friday, June 19th to Saturday, July 11th, 2015. Hughes creates and shares her work to educate the public about our overproduction and overconsumption of plastic. She invites people to send their used plastic items to her studio instead of disposing them. That way she can use them in her mural projects and artwork while also diverting them from our landfills and waterways.
This show was a huge inspiration because I was only a few years into my Artist journey at the time and was still exploring the possible ways to create art for a specific purpose, outside of making money. Years later, I now realize that art has been a healing exercise for me and sharing it with others helps to show how they, too can feel relief, hope, freedom, and all types of other good feelings that are often felt through painting.
In fact, that's what I've enjoyed the most about sharing my love of art with others. IT FEELS GOOD. It also helps to open conversations about deeper topics. I had the pleasure of assisting at a teen's paint session a few weeks ago at StepUp Ministry Raleigh led by my good friend and fellow creative, Nate Key. They discussed identity and reflected on who they are and what makes them them. Art helped me to re-learn that for myself after college and relocating to Durham, NC. I really appreciated their dialogue and the opportunity to engage with such a dynamic bunch of young people. As the months go on and summer approaches, lots more activities and events are planned to happen. It's bound to be a busy, but [God-willing] fruitful summer and I'm very excited for all the good things ahead. I am grateful to God for it all. Stayed tuned!
For the good. As things change, I, too, am changing. I'm believing there is more in store for me than I can even imagine. I am planning for a great start to the new year, and I pray that by God's grace this will be my year.
I had the honor of facilitating a Canvas Creations session for Vision Church RDU's Living Life Content (LLC) [Singles] Ministry's End-of-Year event on Saturday, December 9th. In celebration of the holiday season, we had a great time in fellowship and painting together. More photos to recap are in the slideshow below.
As Autumn's onset brings in lovely outdoor changes, I wanted to reflect on the fun art classes and a summer camp I was involved in over the summer. I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the art spaces of UNC-CH with middle school-students participating in Seeking The Self 2017, a summer camp hosted annually by nonprofit organizations, Hidden Voices and Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate (BRMA). The photos below are some highlights of my time there and the video following shows more about the camp. I'm thrilled to have participated and look forward to doing more work with Hidden Voices in the near future.
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