Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year end reflections & thoughts for a new year

Here we are once again reflecting on the past year and contemplating
the turning of the new.  It's been a year of challenges, celebrations,
confounding occurrences, and blessings.  Through it all
my blog postings became erratic and absent....My apologies to
followers for that.  I'll try to do much better in 2016..

 Starting with the positive:
   We survived the most snow filled winter in Boston records.
I felt very lucky to have my studio inside my home.  Also
fortunate to be only a couple blocks away from where I helped
with an after school program (when school wasn't closed.)

    Our four children and their families all gathered in Brooklyn
to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary....coming from
Virginia, Ecuador and Brooklyn to be there. 

     In September, our 7th granddaughter was born...rounding
out our grandling number to 8...two for each of our children.
All healthy  and coming into their own in beautiful and
amazing ways... a blessing not to be taken for granted.

     Shows continued to offer inspiration. Being surrounded by
creativity of others always pushes me. Exploring new locations
worked out well - especially my last show, Chicago One of a Kind
where I walked down memory lane. My years there as a
child contributed majorly to my love of cities and the path to
becoming an artist. Interesting how just 5 years can lead the way.
The One of a kind show succeeds in getting a large and
diverse public to attend. Response to my work was very
enthusiastic with brisk selling.  I have signed on to return next
year. Wish it was a little closer, but hope to convince my hubby
to drive with me again next year. I would like to explore the
public art in Chicago more next year. 

Challenges and future plans:
   As I posted earlier, Sam Sadd the director of the
Hawthorne Youth and Community Center where I have been
artist in residence for the past several years, died in January.
She died the day the concrete was poured for the new energy
efficient expansion of the long enough to know
her expansion dream would be a reality.  Grief and loss are
processed by each of us in our own ways. Her absence was
a shock and challenge on various dimensions.  I ended up
helping keep the  after school program going until the end
of  the year - 35 hours/wk instead of 2. (blog posts tended
to slip through the cracks.) The experience reinforced how
much I enjoy working with children, but also challenged me
to figure our what hours and ways made the most sense. 

   The center rehab is largely complete, but HYCC transition
has been difficult financially. To date no replacement director
has been  hired and no regular programming for youth is
going on there now. A real saddness for me especially as
First Night roles around.  For the past several years, neighbor
artist, Lisa Lee and I have facilitated a First Night parade
project which gathered youth and broader community to
participate in the parade on New Year's Eve.  It was an
important way to connect neighbors and past participants
at the center and to make everyone feel a part of Boston.

   In July I led art workshops for the multigenerational inclusive
organization , Families Creating Together.  Neighborhood
places and stories was our focus.  Being in a larger environment
and one with good support staff was awesome. I hope to work
with them again.

   I'm still trying to figure how I will work and interact with youth
in 2016.  Helping youth feel they are "seen" and cared for seems more
important than ever as we face the uncertainties of an unpredictable

What will 2016 bring?  I wish for thoughtful debate, action, and
agreement on important issues on the political front - an unrealistic
dream? perhaps...but the world will indeed be a dark place if
dreamers don't dream on.

I heed the words of Michael Coady's poem "There are also Musicians"
shared by Brian O'Donovan on his WGBH radio program and
at the end of the  Christmas Celtic Sojourn performance we attended.
  "Though there are torturers in the world
  There are also musicians." is our role as artists to continue to lift up the beauty and joy
that persists in the world while we work hard for justice and peace.
When attendees passed by my booth at the Brooklyn Museum show
this past November, I saw many visibly relax and smile....prompting
a smile and breath may just be my job right now. 

May creative energy flow in 2016 encouraging problem solving,
listening to each others stories and celebrating life.

Adventure on.  Wendy