For almost a year now, a group of 7-10 women have been meeting at the Wave Pool and learning art techniques from Cal Cullen and other local artists. What began as a journey of “let’s teach some art,” has led too much more. Friendships have evolved, uncontrollable laughter, an election, pink pussy hats, tears of joys and sadness, frank discussions about the human anatomy shared in each language, a beginning to a deep understanding of our inner soul and unconditional love for one another. A community was built amongst strangers.
As two artists, a woman and her daughter in law, mourned the loss of a son and husband, they found comfort and friendship from their new friends. As a Syrian woman wept and shared through the little English she knew that each time her eyes closed she saw bombs exploding and feared for her children that she left behind in the camps in Jordan, a new picture was painted for her through art. This one was of beauty and joy, pomegranate seeds.
The most unexpected, yet exciting gift to each of these women, was the realization they were capable of creating something so beautiful. This has given them purpose and passion. This passion has led to an extra day each week on Thursday’s to share techniques with those that couldn’t make it on Monday or Tuesday, and to experiment further.
The Thursday class began at Tikkun Farms and is now hosted at the new Welcome site in Camp Washington. Thursdays are filled with laughter, children and visitors. People paint, sew, experiment and just sit idly enjoying the conversation. Around noon food starts coming out of cloth bags and lunch is casually eaten while the projects continue on. The kids relax, read, play and wave to neighbors while sitting in the window reading nook areas.
The Welcome site has provided an area for friendships and healing. Many who attend have faced trauma that they haven’t been able to express because of language barriers. Their art and sewing enables them to heal through the meditation and creation of the project. Their perspectives have broadened as guest artists and volunteers teach them new skills and they visit galleries filled with various exhibits.
After a recent visit to a nature trail with artist Amber Stucke, to create herbariums, the participants commented that they would never look at greenery, weeds or flowers the same way. After mounting their collected nature on pages to be displayed in Amber’s gallery exhibit, Emergence, at the Wave Pool, they now see not just a plant but art.
Sometimes sidewalk chalk and projects needing to dry adorn the front sidewalk. Neighbors pop in and curiously ask what’s happening today. It’s a place where all feel welcomed and comfortable. The ladies are now beginning to sell the items they’re making, teaching workshops and accepting custom orders. If you’d like to visit our new site Welcome or learn more about it, details can be found at Welcome.