One thing leads to another!
Clyde Zeller's metal piece, Experimetal was on display the first afternoon of our 4H afterschool art program for first through third graders at the gallery. One student in particular, Yuuki was very taken with Clyde's piece. It inspired her to draw Flying T-Rex. I put her drawing up on the wall. When Linda Werner came to gallery sit, she was inspired to write a poem!
That's the great thing about creativity, one creative endeavor leads to more creative acts. Christine Harrison
A BIG SURPRISE AT THE GALLERY
On the wall, a dinosaur,
a T-rex, actually,
as the label describes.
Green, with red markings,
big head, sharp teeth,
little arms and little feet.
This kid, scribbling with crayon,
knows her business.
Suspended in blue sky,
surrounded by fluffy
And a yellow sun,
Mr. T-rex scares
no one, this day.
“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes.”
“I can create anything.”
“Making something beautiful is so much fun.”
The two eight year olds shared their insights with me, as they were finishing up their four weeks of summer art classes. I was in their class their last day as a teacher’s aide, but the teaching was all on them, and I was the eager student.
Part of my task today was to ask the kids what they had gotten out of the summer art classes. I wasn’t expecting their deep, insightful responses. After all, they are only eight years old.
Self portraits, abstract design, proportion, perspective, mixing and matching colors with a variety of media, expressing their creative energy, and serious reflection on their work with me, the new teacher’s aide, were all happening in the classroom.
Wearing big grins and laughing, they showed me their portfolios. Today’s assignment was choosing several of their works to exhibit at next week’s county fair, and they took to the task with seriousness and solemn assessment.
“That one isn’t my best work,” one boy said. “This one, though, it shows I figured out my colors.”
The rest of the students also worked quietly, choosing their fair exhibits, and then taking on a new project for the day. Their tables were a rich collection of paints, papers, brushes, and nearly completed projects.
I wandered around the room, emptying and refilling water dishes for their brushes, fetching a clean sheet of paper, and tidying up their used up paper towels and the leavings of their mid-class snack. The teacher was busy offering some tips, demonstrating a new technique, and helping a young girl decide which of her works should go in the fair.
As we tidied up at the end of class, and parents came to pick up their kids, there were smiles and moments of pride, as new work was shown to moms, and bulging portfolio folders were carried out under kids’ arms.
“Thanks,” one young boy said to me. “I had a blast.”
He handed me a fresh watercolor of a man’s face on a paper where the two ends had been crinkled up, framing the face.
“That’s you,” he said. “I thought you needed a portrait, too.”
I teared up, his spontaneous generosity filling my soul. My heart was bursting with all of the enthusiasm and passion I’d experienced with those kids, knowing that this experience had challenged and enriched young lives. Young artists has been nurtured here, kids empowered with knowing that they were creative and imaginative people.
My portrait is now on my refrigerator, brightening the kitchen and rekindling that glow I had when I brought it home to show my wife, and answering her question, “How was your day at art class?”
There’s a familiar slogan that art changes lives. And today, that became real to me, in the faces and smiles of kids, lugging home their new treasures, and the knowledge that they realize they are talented, that they can create their own happiness, for all the world to see.
What is the value of art in our lives? Does it have an impact?
“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” (Pablo Picasso)
Art is a way of finding and expressing the truth in our lives. It allows us to explore and find things within ourselves we may not have realized are there. Art allows us to discover who we are.
“Art is an irreplaceable way of understanding and expressing the world,” said Dana Gioia, chair, National Endowment for the Arts. “There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.” (Commencement address, Stanford University, 2007)
Working in high school art classes, researchers Hetland and Winner found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the school curriculum—what they call “studio habits of mind.” One key habit was “learning to engage and persist,” meaning that the arts teach students how to learn from mistakes and press ahead, how to commit and follow through. “Students need to find problems of interest and work with them deeply over sustained periods of time,” write Hetland and Winner.
They found that “the arts help students learn to ‘envision’—that is, how to think about that which they can’t see. That’s a skill that offers payoffs in other subjects, they note. The ability to envision can help a student generate a hypothesis in science, for instance, or imagine past events in history class. Hetland and Winner, Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Art Education (2007).” Karin Evans, Arts and Smarts, Greater Good Magazine, UC Berkeley, (December 2008)
“Along with the perks of enjoying and experiencing art, there are real-world benefits to making the art with your own two hands. According to a 2014 study, producing visual art improved psychological resilience and increased brain activity for the participants by the end of the experiment.” Gabe Bergado, Mic.com (December 15, 2014)
“Art allows children to express emotions that can be difficult to discuss with others.
“According to research conducted by the Childcare Education Institute, ‘art offers children an important outlet for emotional expression and the assurance that their feelings are valuable,’ which is particularly critical for disadvantaged children whose feelings might have never been validated. Expressing emotions such as anger or fear through artistic expression such as dance or writing allows children cope with aspects of living in a healthy, safe space. It also enables them to release difficult emotions instead of repressing them.” K. Nola Mokeyane, Information on How Art Helps the Behavior of Disadvantaged Children, (oureverydaylife.com)
Does art have value? I would argue yes.
“When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply asked,'then what are we fighting for?’ ” (Kazuo Ishiguro)
In my own life, art has had a tremendous impact. By allowing myself to be creative, and to have space in my life where I can explore and play, I have greatly expanded my view of who I really am.
I’ve always been a photographer, exploring light, composition, and “seeing” the world in a different way. That creativity helped balance my life in college and law school. I played in school bands, and loved music.
My interest in art, and my hunger for a creative outlet brought me to look at my love for gardening as a way of expression. Years later, I took art classes at my local community college. In that work and discipline, I found a sense of freedom and self expression.
Over time, I’ve learned to give myself permission to experiment, to “let go”, and be uninhibited with my art. In many ways, it is a return to the spontaneity of childhood play. Now, I play my guitar, and pick up my paintbrushes with a sense of excitement and limitless possibility.
And, in my art, I have found a self I never really honored before, and am getting acquainted with my soul, a person I really enjoy.
The last few days had been a blur of activity at our new gallery. The empty room was cleaned, windows washed, and the sidewalk swept.
One daunting task was to repaint a portion of a wall that was a ghastly dark teal, and transform it into a showcase for our beautiful art work. Three coats of paint later, and the room seemed to be transformed with a new sense of brightness and warmth.
Moving day arrived, and an enthusiastic crew began to carry our pop-up collection from our previous site across the street. Street construction had slowed traffic to a standstill, so we paraded our art work between stopped cars and trucks, occasionally chatting with the idled drivers and their passengers.
It was quite a parade, and included easels and our prayer flag collections.
The empty storefront windows soon blossomed with a variety of art, and the walls sparkled with a large variety of paintings, prints, sketches, and encaustics.
It was a gallery!
Sunflower Flats brought a gorgeous arrangement of peonies, brightening up the whole gallery.
We set up a table for food and coffee, as company was coming. It was the night of the annual Cork and Brew festival downtown, and we were the last stop on the tour of local businesses that were serving food and drink to 250 patrons. Each of them carried a passport to be stamped by each participating merchant, and we were the drop off station, the last stop.
A beautiful, and generous, gift basket was proudly displayed at the gallery, and passport holders were entering a drawing, each hoping to be the lucky winner.
At 4 p.m., we flipped the “open” sign for the first time and put our Art Accelerated sandwich board out on the sidewalk. We were open!!
Nervously, we found our cashbox and figured out how to swipe a credit card and write a receipt. Would anyone come?
Indeed, they came. Old friends, people walking by, and other merchants came by to check us out and look at our beautiful art and books by local authors. There were several displays of art cards and a bin bursting with a variety of art work.
The room filled with happy patrons, checking out the art, and meeting our artists. Great conversations and reunions with old friends were going on all over the place as the evening progressed.
Excitedly, we made our first sale, and then another, and another. There were smiles and laughter, and lots of fun.
Finally, the last of the happy Cork and Brew patrons ambled out of the gallery and it was time to shut the door. 196 people had crossed our threshold, leaving with memories of a good experience and our new brochure.
“We’ll be back,” we heard again and again. “This is so beautiful. What a great addition to downtown.”
I put my tired feet up and contemplated the day. I still had a little paint on my hand from that last coat of paint, and a sore finger from missing a picture hanger with a hammer when we were hanging the last few paintings on the wall.
We were open, and all I could do was smile. We were on our way!
The April 22 Open Mic at YoTime Frozen Yogurt in downtown Tillamook thrilled a standing room only house with enthusiastic readers, singers, and musicians. It was our biggest bill of entertainers and our largest crowd.
Five elementary school students from Tillamook’s East School brought their talented voices, sharing music they had performed at their school lunch program. Thank you, Jim Nelson, for encouraging these energetic singers.
A visiting trio, Wanderlust, entertained with cello, guitar, and harmonica, including several songs in French.
Denise Harrington, Bev Buffington, Penny Eberle, Josi Mizee, and Joan Cutuly read from their poems, essays, and books. Thanks, Denise and Josi, for premiering with Art Accelerated! We want to hear more from you.
The popular local band, The Associates, returned with several rock ‘n roll songs, and Miguel Santos brought us to our feet with his rendition of “LaBamba”.
Eric Sappington, one of our county’s most popular entertainers, brought the evening to a close with three original guitar songs, including the debut of his latest composition, much to the delight of the standing room only crowd. His 12 string guitar and his mellow voice rounded out two full hours of local talent and fun.
Donations help support our children’s art education classes starting this summer and our continuing work on our downtown cooperative art gallery. Help us support local artists and provide them a showcase for their amazing talents. Look for more pop up art shows and art events later this summer.
By popular demand, we are returning to YoTime on Saturday, May 20 for what is now our monthly Open Mic. See you at 6:30 for an evening of fun and local talent. We hope to host these fun events every month.
And, mark your calendars. The Fairview Grange is having their annual Open Mic fundraiser on Saturday, June 30. We will be there and hope you will be, too, to support the Grange and all of its many community activities.
Art Accelerated has brought open mics to downtown Tillamook.
An open mic is a public forum, where artists can publicly express their creativity in front of a welcoming, friendly crowd.
At its essence, an open mic is a microphone and an audience. It is a friendly place to express yourself, and to share your creative work with others.
Our open mics have featured musicians, poets, authors of books, and essayists.
Say what you need to say and share it with your community!
We don’t focus on the political; we focus on the creative!! Express yourself and get your work out there for others to hear. Be heard!
It’s easy to be a reader, a performer. There’s a sign up sheet, there’s an emcee, there’s a microphone, and there’s an appreciative audience.
The emcee is usually me – Neal Lemery: Board member of Art Accelerated, writer, poet, musician, a real local. I’m interested in focusing on local talent and giving people an audience, so that they can share their work, be heard, and find a friendly, welcoming audience who appreciates your courage in coming, in sharing, and in speaking from your creative heart.
By sharing our art, our creativity, we are sharing our souls, and we are truly building community. We are building a creative, caring, and soulful community.
By reading our writings, singing, playing music, expressing our souls, we are making a healthier, more engaged community. We all benefit from that. And, we build ourselves and we build each other.
So, come. Read, sing, play, spill your guts, and be loved by your friends and neighbors, your fellow artists, your soul-mates.
Almost nothing compares to the energy of children finding their way on a blank piece of paper, holding a bulging paintbrush ripe with possibilities. Whether at the kitchen table on an 8 1/2”x11” white sheet of paper and a plastic dime store set of watercolors, or out in the field with that paper masking-taped to a primitive cedar easel facing a sunflower audience-wherever it happens-captivated energy emerges and children “go forth.” No hesitating; no looking around to see what the other guy’s doing; no waiting; no holding back-just pick up the brush, swish it around in the water and paint (the more–the-better). Get the paint to the paper swishing, skittering, glopping and glopping until, according to the artist with face beaming, the composition is finished.
Providing a place for that energy to come together and emerge is my dream-my hope-for Art Accelerated in downtown Tillamook. We have an opportunity RIGHT NOW to create a vibrant place where Tillamook County’s children (and adults) are welcome to dive right into art in all kinds of forms full speed ahead! Exploring. Discovering themselves and their worlds.
We’re at the very beginnings of creating that vibrant space, but hopefully one day soon, open and ready for art in downtown Tillamook. We hope you join us.
Below are pictures of Cindy's grandchildren from the past and from the 2016 Tillamook County Fair.
Art is happening in downtown Tillamook, and Art Accelerated is on the move!
Our latest pop-up art showing on President’s Day weekend was a smashing success. Local artists displayed (and sold!!) their beautiful art work, and over a hundred visitors enjoyed the show.
We are now occupying a retail store location at 302 Main, on the corner of Tillamook’s busiest intersection. With lots of window space, our art work remains on display for all to enjoy.
Our children’s after school art education program is being organized. We received a generous grant from the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition, funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust, to provide an enriching experience for elementary school kids this spring and summer. Scholarships will be available, as well.
We have many hopes and dreams, and hope to continue our presence at 302 Main, make improvements, and establish classroom space for a variety of educational and cultural offerings. It would be a great space for our art education program, as well as for artists, musicians, and educators to teach classes and workshops, as well as hold a variety of events for the community.
We are developing a cooperative art gallery for this space, and hope to attract even more local artists to share their work with the public and have the gallery open during regular hours three days a week. Other special shows are in the plans, as well, making this space a vibrant center for the arts in our community.
Our board of directors is hard at work exploring all of these possibilities. Christine Harrison, Dennis Worrel, Cindy Gardner, Linda Werner, and Neal Lemery are moving ahead with our plans. Our amazing army of volunteers brought our pop up art show to life on President’s Day weekend, and we are very grateful for their enthusiasm and hard work.
Fund raising is a huge part of this effort, and we are asking the community to continue to support us.
We have a new website, http://artaccelerated.org , and you can make a donation through a secure portal there. Of course, you can also send us a check, Art Accelerated, 4185 Westwood Dr., Tillamook, Oregon 97141. We have obtained 503(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS, so your donations are tax deductible.
You can also make a donation with the Oregon Cultural Trust and us, and receive a generous Oregon income tax credit. We are listed on the Oregon Cultural Trust’s website, as a cooperating non-profit art organization.
We’ve applied for a gallery lighting installation grant from the Tillamook Public Utility District, and are making plans for a busy year.
We’ve joined the Tillamook area Chamber of Commerce and are an active part of the downtown business community.
Our open mic nights continue: February 25 and March 25, at YoTime Frozen Yogurt, 316 Main Avenue, Tillamook, starting at 6:30 p.m. We have musicians, poets, comedians, essayists, and other creative folks sharing their works with us. Join us for a Saturday night in downtown Tillamook filled with cultural life and delicious frozen yogurt.
Join us on this journey, and share your creativity with the community.
Something Wonderful is Happening In Tillamook!