Friday, September 2, 2016

Boom, change!

Turtle spirit - slow and steady wins the race. 

I once had a mentor named Freda Rosen (may she rest in paradise) who had the uncanny ability to deliver big concepts in the form of succinct one-liners. In speaking about working towards personal change, development and growth, she would say: "Change can seem like: nothing's happening, nothing's happening, nothing's happening; and then one day - BOOM, change!" I must say that's how I've been feeling recently.

Over the last few years I've gotten involved lots of new things, working slowly forward. I often think of myself as a late-bloomer (and that my spirit animal must be a turtle!). I went back to school (yes, as a grown adult), graduating with my BA from Hunter in 2013. I always knew that I was interested in English/Literature/Writing, but there I learned that I really loved Literary Theory, Art History, and of all things, Roman Art History (as well as Classical Studies and even Archaeology). I also always knew that I was interested in art, but at some point I became voracious in my art viewing/consumption, visiting so many art exhibits, museums, events, panel discussions and lectures. In 2013 I discovered CCCADI and was lucky enough to be chosen for their Community Arts University Without Walls program abroad, in Puerto Rico (at Interamerican University), where I learned about concepts like Cultural Equity, Community Arts and Social Justice through the arts. I also rejuvenated my own artistic practice, painting much more than before and exhibiting more too. After CAUWW, I started this blog, Travesia Artistica (Artistic Voyage), to write about and document all of these artful events within the contexts that I found interesting and important. It's actually nice for me to be able to look back at this blog since (being the turtle-spirit that I am) it is sometimes hard to see/acknowledge over the long-term that event though I am moving very slowly, I am still in fact, moving forward! Boom, change! 

So now here we are embarking on the fall of 2016 and there are three major things that are about to happen in my life over the course of the next three months... all overlapping. 

First, for the last almost-year, I have been meeting together with an incredible group of arts professionals/artists/activists to form a new group in our borough called, Queens Creative Solidarity (QCS). Being on the Steering Committee, we said from the beginning that we want the group to be open and inclusive to anyone who is interested in our vision,"to build and cultivate an equitable network of artists and creative people in Queens that acknowledges and respects the cultural richness already present in our neighborhoods..." So as our first public-facing endeavor, we decided to go ahead and apply for a residency at the Queens Museum called Studio in the Park - and we got it! The residency runs from September 15th through October 31st inside of Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP) where we get a studio trailer. We are now ironing out all of the programming for public art-making projects as well as group informational meetings for people to come learn about (and hopefully join) QCS. Our project title is: "FMCP - What it's Worth" and addresses park public use, value and accessibility, among other things.

Next, I applied for a residency program (for myself as an individual artist) at a contemporary art center called UNIDEE (University of Ideas) in Biella, Italy - and I got it!. So in early November, I will travel to Northern Italy to take part in a program called "Elapsing Time in Expanded Artwork - Practices of the Unconscious Through Means of Activism." Now, for those who are familiar with my artwork (which deals a lot with dreaming and the unconscious), reading the description of this program, seems almost as if it was written for me. I am very excited to attend. The program is actually only one week long, so I am planning (hoping) to be able to spend a little time afterwards and travel down to Rome to see some of the art and architecture that I've only ever seen in textbooks. My heart begins to race every time I imagine it. #artnerd 

Last but not least, this week I got some (more) amazing news! CCCADI has another great program, the Innovative Cultural Advocacy (ICA) Fellowship. As the name implies (in a nutshell), Fellows are taught by leaders in the arts and cultural fields, how to become advocates for cultural equity using innovative methods and ideology. I applied for the ICA Fellowship and I am thrilled and honored to say that I was accepted! The ICA fellowship will take place from September through December. At this point, I can only imagine how much I am going to learn and I am so excited for this new road that's opened up on my personal (as well as professional and artistic) journey. 

As I mentioned, it often feels as if I've been moving along at a slow pace; but I have been happily learning and taking thoughtful steps. Now I feel like things are starting to come together and make sense. With so many things happening at once, I plan to get through it all as "slow and steady" as I can. Great thanks to everyone who continues to help and inspire me. 

(I usually post my own photos to go along with my blog posts, but this time I'm using images found online to illustrate some of the things I wrote about above [i.e. these are not my photos].)

This is an example of one of the studio trailers (created by ArtBuilt) that QCS will have as a part of the Studio in the Park residency at Queens Museum this fall.

View of Biella, Italy - town where UNIDEE is located.

Image of CCCADI's new home, firehouse to open this fall in East Harlem, NY.

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