20 Neighborhoods at Mercy Housing Roseland

Teaching Artist Ramona Lindsey tells us about the workshops at Mercy Housing Roseland

July 11

Our first workshop at Mercy Housing – Roseland was a great success.
Eleven women residents of the senior housing complex participated in the

We spent our time getting to know each other and the goals of
the 20 Neighborhoods project.   Our afternoon together began with a
collage activity where participants chose a found object that spoke to
them. I asked the ladies to answer several prompts about the object on
colored paper which they glued around the object.  The women talked in
small groups sharing their collages.

After learning about each other we
selected and painted bases for our sculpture projects. Finally our time
together ended with the reading of George Ella Lyons’ poem “Where I’m


July 18

Today we focused on self.  We discussed how symbols can be used to tell
something about ourselves.  The class begin with a face glyph.  Glyph is
short for hieroglyphics.  It uses shapes, pictures, and symbols to tell a
story.  Our face glyphs used geometric shapes to answer 4 questions about
ourselves.  The questions were:

Have you ever been married?
If you could go back in time, who would you like to spend the day with?
What is your favorite kind of music?
How do you view the world?

The glyphs also led us into a discussion about drawing and that all
figures begin with a basic understanding of geometric shapes.  For
example, a head is basically an oval with a rectangle for the neck.

After completing our glyphs and discussing shapes. The women begin working
on their assemblages.  A couple of the participants used fabric to create
a quilt like pattern in their bases to reflect their Southern ancestry.
One woman began to create a box within a box.  Her art piece represents
that the deeper you go in discovering who she is the more beauty you will
find.  She believes the same is also true for a her community.

July 25

Day 3 began with a discussion of one of the elements of art – line. We
defined the different types of lines used in all art.  Then we looked at
examples of textile art and discussed how lines helped to provoke emotion
in the viewer.   This discussion led us into an art activity that helped
us focus on this week’s theme – family.  Each woman was given a sheet with
a contour drawing of a man or woman.  Then they used line to fill the
positive space of the drawing.  The lines used by each lady would tell a
story about the chosen family member.  Each lady shared their drawing with
the group.  Our stories and drawings showed us our families’ similarities,
struggles, and triumphs.

After learning about our families, we continued to work on our
assemblages.  Many of the participants are looking beyond the October
exhibit and the impact of their art on their families’ futures.  One
participant will use her art to encourage her brother and welcome a new
baby to the family.  Another wants to share her mother’s favorite
scripture with her family through her art.  Still another wants to share
the peace and joy of her southern childhood with her grandchildren.  It is
exciting to see how this project is allowing each woman to connect with
herself, family, and community.


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