With paint, I explore the multitude of layers of human relationships and interactions. How does an individual get to know herself, and what role can art making have in this experience? How does an individual represent herself outwardly, and how might she be seen and portrayed by an observer, a painter? How do persons relate to one another, and how does this relationship affect change and influence? How does an artist portray her subject matter, and how might the viewer interpret her paintings? I am drawn to this interplay of relationships. I believe that in art making and viewing, more consideration and understanding of ourselves and one another is possible. Creating these relationships is to gain insight and to be empowered.
I see the connective and healing power of art. As a teacher and social worker I create art-based programming, accessible to different members of our community. (See The Art Circle.) Participants engage in the process of creating personal work, side by side, with one another. The message is that each of us has our own journey, but we are not alone in this process. We relate to, support, and shape each other’s experiences and growth. Finally, participants engage in the experience of putting together an art show, and exhibiting their own work. Participants take on the role of helper, expert, and artist of the therapeutic process. Pride, confidence, and sense of community are instilled.
Engaging with participants in this kind of programming is cyclical; I am both helper and receiver, teacher and learner, continuously inspired. Participants are encouraged to create artwork, and write about how the program impacted their lives. Their stories offer further insight and inspiration to the community as they are shared in our art shows. The artists’ efforts result in other community members taking an active role in supporting their program and their cause. The community’s collaborative effort is powerful and far-reaching.