Does it all make dollars and cents?

Again today, Miss Cook’s students blew my mind with their sensitivity and presence (in the social justice/artistically sensitive way).  I appreciate that the jitters — and the giggles — are lessening as times goes on and more and more of the group are “turning in” to the process of mindfulness and the opportunity in front of them. 

It was also amazingly educational to learn — in a game-ified way even — all the different paths that have been tried for fundraising historically…as well as HOW MUCH it in fact costs to hold such a venture up.   

I think making such information acquisition is enjoyable for child and adult alike…and often times a little friendly competition will keep a diverse range of personalities engaged.  It is both enlightening and daunting how much it does cost to keep the Dream House going.  And a great lesson for the students, including us grad students…to realize how much things cost/are worth.  

Often times it is so easy to pass something off when things are handed to you…but to know the dollars and cents assigned to a given object/service it starts to become deeper.  
It was the cutest, softest, and most fun mallet bonk on appreciation I have received in my life.



See you on the 13th.

I felt Monday was very informative. I learned a lot about community art. It is no doubt I felt included in the program because of all the group activities.

I can’t wait to go back on the 13th!

I really enjoyed the game we played outside called, ‘mime the lie’. We stood in a circle and had to greet the person standing in front of us. During our greeting we had to ask what that person was doing (action), the person then had to lie about what they were doing which would prompt the action of that person asking.


Sincerely Armari

Last Monday I was ANXIOUS about meeting new people and making a good first impression.

However, the college students in the program were cool and chill. The best part of my experience in the program was when we made gifts for the person we interviewed.This program is really inspiring and talks about a lot of things political and art-wise.

I can’t wait to see what in store next Monday!!!!

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

-Lilla Watson

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

This week was one of preparation. In anticipation for the high schooler’s that will be joining us the following week, we participated in discussions of transportation strategy, and mindfulness.

But outside of and included within all of the preparatory work, was a huge EXCITEMENT. Everything is moving forward and falling into place.

The students we are working with are so impressive, and I can only speak for myself, not the group, I cannot wait to collaborate with them.

I so appreciate the opportunity to look at the graphic novels and videos created by past students of the program that we are going to be working with. It gave us a peek into the lives, interests, and concerns of the students, so that we can prepare to understand their lives. It also gave us a peek into their work.

They are talented, and mature, alternatively serious and humorous, sweet and smart. They’re concerned with so many things and concerned about so many others. I am sure that through working together, we can create programming for the dream house that will benefit neighborhood youth, and begin a program that will continue for years to come.

How would we proceed to introduce ourselves to our new high school partners?

I found myself trying exceptionally hard while writing my artist statement, because I know it’s one of the first things our new high school partners will know about me. I want to put my best foot forward, but I also want to be understood. I want our cooperative to be built on clarity. I discussed in my statement that I believe that at the core of my main values is the desire to create connections. Connectivity and working in unity are the keys to creating larger change. Connections in life and relationships create joy, positive working environments. Connections are the key to working ethically. Because connections are how we understand each other, and what we all need to create a better world.

You Pull One Strap, I’ll Pull The Other…

and together these boots will fit just FINE!!!

I’m super aware that my audience for this reflection is larger than it usually is, so I’m curious to see how this will unfold. I employ a stream of consciousness writing style typically, so I never know where I’m going til I’ve gotten there.

Where to begin? Usually I begin with a question, so check.No, that’s not the beginning I want. Here it is: I pondered a lot in this class about long-term take away/retention from classes. If people tend to, as Maya Angelou proclaimed, typically remember only the ways you made them feel, how we can we really hope to impart knowledge to the groups we teach? Is there any particular set of knowledge people must have to be successful? Or, should we treat ourselves and each other as jigsaw pieces, coming together with our different edges of understanding in order to fit into a single shape and create a collaborative society?

This idea strikes me as being at odds with the “American” paradigm of rugged independence, of the self-made man (fun fact: my high school art teacher referred to me as a Renaissance person in a recommendation he wrote for me). This is one piece of information I remember learning about in elementary school on; American “heros” of old made themselves great. They didn’t rely on their communities–their communities were backwards, stuck in old ways, or not as exceptional as they happened to be. So I do remember something I was taught to believe, and I’m not sure if that’s because I also was compelled to feel it in my bones for so long.

Growing up, and even now to a large extent, I valued the model of living your life in a state of almost complete and total self-reliance.To this day, I still keep my mental struggles contained mostly in my own head. Sometimes I share them, but immediately feel pressured for them to resolve before the eyes of the onlooker who has come to my aid. I can’t let someone think they’ve failed to help me, or I will feel either more inept or guilty for having wasted their time.

My conclusion is that our community arts collaborative goes directly against the dominant American narrative of achievement, in which one singularly propels themselves forward against all obstacles. We are rebels, collectively writing a new story. Maybe we are helping to blaze a fresh trail, one that celebrates and memorialize groups instead of just individuals. Maybe this will help bring about a true restructuring of society that promotes a fairer world for us all.

I think now of Rosa Parks, a true hero to many–and with good reason–but I’ve also heard a counter-narrative that she wasn’t really the one who pioneered the peaceful protesting of segregated seats. Someone else (and I just googled this, to be real with you all) refused to give up her own seat first, and her name was Claudette Colvin. This historical truth feels like an alternative fact, as it throws a wrench in the common narrative. To me, this all suggests that we should look at people we admire not in isolation of their surroundings and their community, but see how they in fact worked to make up the larger whole of a movement. Does anyone know much about whom Mother Teresa talked to when she needed support? None of us really do things alone. When we learn to celebrate groups and communities of people, perhaps then the whole idea that we should “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” can die at last.

Does everyone need to do everything by themselves? Obtain their own living space, car, and all the fixings of an “independent” lifestyle? Can we stop shaming people in their twenties for living with their parents and instead celebrate the idea of working and living together?

While I will likely struggle to “let people in” for most of my life, I have to say that working with Prescott on the Snoop and Martha skit was a wonderful experience, one that would not have happened if I had been left to think of something completely on my own.

-that being said, Catherine, you did great, kid. (Week 3’s class reflection) 

Starr Wants to Tell Everyone of Her Second Class.

Today’s class began with taking a moment to read the wallboard and create a
word of feeling, attach the stick note to the wallboard. My word for today was
“Laughter” in a warm friendly manner. From there we flushed out more of our
thoughts and creative ideas by writing in our journals-freestyle. In my journal
before I arrive to class at Youth Dreamers, I wrote:“ Now it is the afternoon and time
for class at Youth Dreamers. It’s Monday and I am looking forward to the class
project(s). I know it will include making, thinking, and creating-fun “stuff”.

From this point we discussed our thoughts with each other to generate a
drawing in the Labyrinth “circle” style, this lead to our next assignment that we had
previously selected ten words from our list (of 101 words). We then took those ten
words down to 3 words that we could express in our “circle’ creation. Art Supplies
YEAAAHHH!!! We could draw, collage, or paste. There was a discussion after from
those who chose to explain their work. I tried to tell a story through a major
illustration image that constantly arrives in my work and I have now accepted this
image or these images and work with them without trying to control how or where
they will be in any of my art projects.

Moving from ten words to five words to three was difficult for me…personally I
cannot have one with out the other(s) so my words were Arts, Positive Attitude,
Compassion and Nature…


-Starr Page