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Blog: Blog2

Hats, Photography, and Handwaving

This weekend I was really proud of my family especially all of us women. It was sort of amazing really, I wish you could have been here to see it. I know you are an artist in your own right, but the women in my family seem to all have a passion for the arts... and wearing hats.

So what happened was that first I went to my daughter's school for her presentation. She's been doing a personal project on photography one day a week for the whole year. The funny part was she never did get to take pictures. So I let her take out my camera and sure enough, she took pictures so stunning, I couldn't imagine them not in a gallery by an experienced photographer.

But that's not what stunned me, truly stunned me.  That of course, was hearing her presentation. I didn't expect it to be a persuasive speech. She wore a hat to look like a reporter and she moved her hands in small excited gestures. For two hours she talked to people about how important photography is to the world. How it helped get rid of D.D.T. in the early part of the environmental movement. How it helps with Alzheimer patients. How it truly can stop crime dead in its tracks. How it records our history in a way nothing else can. My daughter stood up for the arts this weekend and I'm not sure she knew she was doing that. But I knew.

Yesterday I went with my mother to another conference called Young Audiences.  She shared about a project she did to bring together a fractured community on the East Coast 10 years ago.  She did it through lullabies of all things. Her elementary music students recorded and shared family lullabies. They held a cultural food fest, sang their old and new lullabies, and made art about their heritage and sewed it together into a large quilt. The community was literally brought together by every way possible: story, creative expression, sharing a communal meal, and music.  They were woven together by their own hand and voices through the arts.

I'm not sure how it happened, but the women in my family have become a strong cord united in bringing communities together through the arts. That's our family business. Our mission, our motto. I'm not sure what we will do next. But I know a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

After helping two generations of my family share their passion for the arts, I'm not so surprised about my decision to try renting out a studio space in the crossroads district of KC this summer. I think I need to try again at being a painter, something I gave up long ago. I think if my own daughter knows how arts can truly bring change into the world, make it a brighter, safer place. Then I need to enter again into the arts community where the women on either side of me insist the battle is fought and fought well.

So I'm picking up my paintbrush again. It has a fine point and will fit easily into small spaces. Liminal spaces, as Makoto Fujimora called them, at the Restoration Arts conference I attended last week.  Spaces in between. If I can create space in the heart of just one person. It's worth the risk. And of course, I think that space in the heart is love, don't you?


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