20 Neighborhoods at Howard Area Community Center

Teaching artist Lindsay Obermeyer and assistant Kristin Abhalter tell us about the workshops at Howard Area Community Center

June 28

“The first two weeks of the 20 Neighborhoods project at Howard Area Community Center have been very productive and wonderful.

Teaching artist Lindsay Obermeyer began the first class by introducing the “Where I’m From” exercise, which led to the development of beautiful poetry by the participants and created a sense of personal discovery and recognition of the diversity of the group.  The poems may serve as an artist statement for the final piece.  We then introduced an exercise on artist trading cards and participants created them while exploring the materials and supplies that were available to work with.
The second week, materials were arranged across large tables in the room and Lindsay introduced transfer methods using packing tape and demonstrated decoupage.  The participants received their sculpture bases and they were eager to begin creating.  There were discussions about how to engage with the unique shapes of some of the bases and suggestions were offered about alternative display methods and altering the shape of the base structure.  Hopefully some materials from home will appear next week.  Some of the participants took materials home to work with, others expressed the desire for more studio time to work on their projects.  There is enthusiasm about the materials and the techniques and laughter and joy in the workshop.”

July 6

“As several of the women participating have noted, 20 Neighborhoods is more than an arts outreach program.  It is a moment in a week when they can gather to make, talk and share.  With work, children and several in school, these two hours in the week are a rare moment of downtime.  Teaching assistant Kristin Abhalter has offered a sixth day to meet, so everyone can have just a few more precious hours to work on their assemblages.

The participants in the program at Howard Area Community Center represent 3 continents and one island.  With such an international group, our discussions often revolve around cultural similarities and differences.  In fact, when one participant learned that photographs of her were to be posted on this blog, she came to the next class dressed in clothing common to her home country of Cameroon.   She’s proud of her heritage and wants others to learn of it.

While some are making purely visual assemblages with photographs and bits of ephemera from their personal lives, others are including poetry they have written.  You may need to brush up on your French if you want to read it!  But don’t worry, these poets fully plan on attending the opening in October and will be happy to read aloud some of their poetry for you.

It’s difficult for me to accept that our classes are half over.  The participants and myself would love to see them continue.  We hope you will attend the opening and support Woman Made Gallery for this program and the many others they organize.”

 

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