Art as Service
When I began making lampworked beads in the late 90’s, I was in school to finish my Master’s in Nursing, to become a Nurse Practitioner. At the time, art was for a reward that was generally laid to rest at the end of all other obligations. I saw my nursing career as service, and art as self indulgence. Hmm. Where do you suppose that judgment came from? Was it my mother’s voice, telling me over dinner preparation, “Art is a nice avocation, but you need a practical job.”
Years have passed, and life has taken many turns, allowing me opportunities to reinvent myself and put new perspectives on old concepts. A small art project to make a little bistro table (my intro to Seattle Mosaic Arts, and a story for another day) launched two new art forms for me: mosaic and fused glass. That one table lead to further tables, outdoor hanging wall art, garden stones, and a kitchen and master bath remodel. Initially, the art was for me, but in short order, the sense of community and philosophy of the studio helped me come to the understanding that art, like medicine, is also a healer. I have learned that I have to power to help others through the community projects in which the studio participates. Case in point is Laurel True’s mission to help create a series of mosaic enhancements and murals in the children’s ward of Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti. She organized a project, partly supported by Seattle Mosaic Arts, to donate money which allowed participants to create porcelain stars and comets in mosaic, which were then hand carried to Haiti and installed in the hospital. I was so thrilled to bring friends to the event at SMA, introduce them to the magic of mosaic, while also helping to beautify and make comforting the children’s ward. I began to realize more fully, that being of service to your community can be accomplished through the various iterations of our being. In retrospect, it is often the moments you offer little regard, that end up reshaping life in a way you never imagined, and I now see service and stewardship as an integral part of life that has its place at home, in medicine, and in the art studio.
As is with the world, allowing opportunities to present themselves organically can often be more fruitful than having a plan. On the home front, I was honored to have a very small, but rewarding part in the Mariposa Project at Nimbus Arts in St. Helena. The Mariposa program is offered to high school girls, promoting female empowerment and encouragea the girls to set goals to live without drugs or abuse. Nimbus Arts partnered with Mariposa to create a public installation. Initially on the periphery of this project, I became more familiar with Nimbus Arts, whose program director is Jamie Graff. The wheels kept turning, and through a circuitous route, I had the privilege of making the dragon heads and tail for another community project at Nimbus, donating my time and kiln use for the pieces.
Currently, at Seattle Mosaic Arts, I am on the project team for a grieving garden being created on the grounds of Children’s Hospital Seattle- 4 panels, 4 by 7 foot monoliths, representing the four seasons. I get to create, interpret, experiment, in the name of giving back to the community. I am so fortunate to be inspired by the cause that makes me want to bring my best self to the table, at the same time that I gain more and more experience through the process. It becomes clearer to me that giving to the community is a symbiotic relationship. Through giving, I receive, and have come to understand that the expression of art when created in a community forum is healing and inspiring to those who give their time and participation, and those who spend time in the presence of the art, lovingly created. In this way art elevates to something much more than an avocation. It becomes a purpose. It is a path.
For links to Seattle Mosaic Arts, Laurel True, Nimbus Arts, and projects mentioned in the blog:
- Posted by Jyakov
- On July 16, 2017
- 0 Comments