Unity In Diversity

Yesterday I happily attended a celebration of programs that brought together diversity,  a collaborative intergenerational participation and youth mural projects. These workshop/programs inspired youth and seniors to connect through artful play, get engaged in the community library and foster a positive environment for collaboration amongst a diverse group of local residents. I was one of the teaching artists in the Intergenerational Art Program. It was a heartwarming and delightful experience and as in all “teaching” opportunities–the teacher gets to learn from the students. From the eldest senior at a spirited 92 years to the youngest at a mature 11 years, the international as well as intergenerational group came together to connect, discuss diversity and create art together. Through round-table stories and imaginative artwork, the different generations and nationalities learned about one another’s cultures and traditions and formed meaningful relationships. They also bonded on their many commonalities to form lifetime friendships and inspire one another. It truly was an antidote to all the fear of people “who don’t look or act like us.”

At the same time, all the participants took risks with their artwork and vanquished the fear of “not good enough” or “I can’t draw'” demons. It took a little coaxing, especially with the senior generation, but once they let go of what art is supposed to look like–they had the most fun and appreciation of their creations. A new art gallery was set up in the local library which will be an ongoing showcase for the residents’ artwork and stories.

Sponsors of the program include: LIFE Center Stage, Friends of the Butler Library, and Morris Arts–all of New Jersey. Special thanks to Vicky Mulligan of LIFE Center Stage, visionary, friend and wise woman of the tribe for inviting me to participate, take risks and stretch beyond my own limits.

 

Almost There

Almost There

is the name of a small wooden sloop
who has blown around for awhile
her paint is chipped
and her topside well-worn
her bottom needs attention
and her teak a bit tarnished
but her sails are still strong

she is a bay boat
sails with clammers and crabbers
past osprey nests
islands of egrets and gulls
and floating eel grass
she’s always on the watch for power boats
towing water skiiers on one leg now

Almost There enjoys sharing the bay
with kayaks and clouds
misses the old days filled with windsurfers
she lives for the bay breezes and freshening wind
tolerates the fog and navigates the changing tide
she loves a strong hand on her tiller
and knows that the  joy is in the ride to almost there

ag ~ 2012