Following Up on Teamwork

Last week I whined about how difficult it was for me to share creative effort, but this week I can report what a joy teamwork can be.  With my husband’s help in lighting up the “float,” we Stone Mountain Village Artists made a strong showing at the village parade last Friday night:

On Parade in Stone Mountain Village, 11/29/13

On Parade in Stone Mountain Village, 11/29/13

The entire event turned out to be worth both the effort and my angst.

Additionally, my gallery mates and I have taken on yet another group effort:  teaching art and crafts at the Side-by-Side Brain Injury Clubhouse only a block from our studios.  The Resource Development Director stopped by our gallery one day a few weeks ago and invited us to volunteer as little as one hour per week helping the members create meaningful art.  The Clubhouse is where adults with the effects of traumatic brain injury are rehabilitated by working side-by-side with staff to manage all operations of the Clubhouse.  (Visit www.sidebysideclubhouse.org for more information.)

For our first art class this week, we decided to start with something simple:  decoupaging with tissue paper.  Ten members participated, a few just watched, and at least four staff members assisted while the three of us lead the group.  We artists provided the ModPodge and torn tissue paper, and the clubhouse provided sponge brushes and 11×14 sheets of multi-media art paper.  I put a pile of torn tissue-paper “leaves” on the tables and let them decide what colors they wanted to use.  We showed them (many of whom have only one working arm) how to apply the glue and to overlap the pieces.  Some worked diligently to cover the entire sheet while others were satisfied with only a few well-placed pieces, but they all really seemed to enjoy the activity based on how talkative and engaged they were. Hopefully next week we can take this to the next level, where they are decorating a box to give or keep.  Originally we thought that after the initial “get-to-know-you” class we would then take turns going individually, but we realize now that it would be helpful to have at least two of us there each week to provide a proper level of support.  We want them to enjoy the process of creating art as much as we do.

Yes, we are doing this out of the goodness of our hearts, but we are also trying to be savvy business people.  This kind of experience looks good on our artist resumes.  If we ever want to apply for grants, we need to have evidence of community involvement.  If we want exposure, we need to been seen in wider circles.  Hopefully, this will be a win-win partnership for all involved.

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