Volunteering & Community
One of the key aspects I think about in my art is the intersection between my work and the community. I consider the organizations I participate in, the activities I promote, the artwork I create and so much more when planning out my year. I simply cannot do all of the things I would like to but I do try to volunteer my time and energy when and where I can.
This is a story about one of those projects.
It began with my studio mate, friend and fellow community volunteer Barbie Perry. She approached me about an opportunity that friend and artist, Duffy Armstrong from Olli had presented. This was an idea for Barbie and I to teach a class at the winter workshop sessions that Osher Lifelong Learning Institute conduct. (You can learn about the organization here).
Lucky for us, we had just learned from the programming Librarian at Peoria Public Library, Karla W. that she had just the spot for an art installation. With that we set to work creating the workshop outline, researching, gathering materials, meeting with Karla and preparing. We knew that this would be big project to tackle and would require a balance of time and energy.
Barbie and I agreed to fearlessly dive into this project centered around creating a public art installation.
In one of our initial meetings with Karla W. we discussed measurements, logistics, and timeline. We were able to break the project down into small tasks that could be tackled easily over the several months we had to prepare. This helped to ensure that we were able to still work on our individual art practices.
Our earliest studio sessions involved concept design and execution projections. We knew that the artwork being created need to meet some of our conceptual goals. The library is a community space that while welcoming, is still a very utilitarian space. We wanted to bring soft, airy, feminine and ephemeral qualities to the space. We also had to consider that this piece needed to be achievable with a group of people who may or may not have artistic tendencies. We wanted the experience to be positive and successful as well as educational for our Olli students.
While both Barbie and myself believe in the importance of paying artists for their time and work, we volunteered our efforts in this project, in the same way that Olli runs completely on volunteers. Because we were not working with a budget for the project, we made a goal to spend little to no money on materials and supplies. We worked with items that we had on hand or were given to us.
Aluminum Boat Ramp poles, Rope, Twine, Glue, Fishing wire, pvc tubing, spray paint, yarn, string, wire, an old book, fabric, packing material, plastic waste, bubble wrap, and garbage bags.
To use these materials to create a mobile that could hang in the skylight area of the main branch of Peoria Public Library. We intended to best utilize the Olli participants to help assemble elements of the project.
We created 10 hoops from PVC tubing, glue and tape. Each hoop was spray painted. We designated materials that would be used for each hoop. During our Olli class we had our students wrap the hoops with yarn and then create interest and texture within the space of each hoop using the provided materials.
I love using words to connect with my fellow humans.