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“Making art is hard, but it’s fun!” – 4th grader
For many of us, making art can be many things: hard, easy, interesting, frustrating, fun, funny…
Exploring identity and community is probably my favorite way to engage youth through art. I adapted my Passport Series to teach high school English-language learner students how to draw self-portraits. The students engaged in conversation about identity and stereotypes, and came up with the most important things about themselves that they would want to share in a re-imagined passport. In addition to chosen name, culture/religion and important dates or life events, they also thought it was important to share their dreams.
For some of the younger students I work with, my primary goal is to help them develop habits of mind, especially to stretch beyond their perceived limitations, and to persist. Many young students already have such a fear of failure, of not getting something right, that they would balk at even beginning to draw, paint or carve. During one residency, I worked with 4th graders over eight sessions to make Salish-inspired linoleum carvings and prints. It was so thrilling to watch them get over their fears and remain undaunted when things didn’t go as planned, when their wrists got sore from carving, and even when they cut themselves! Yes, making art is hard — even painful and bloody! — but it can still be fun.
Meet the Mayor and you’ll find the walls lined with passports, each pair presenting the experiences that define and unite seemingly different people. An “American/Anglo American” woman shares a frame with a Korean American whose gender identity is “FTM and/or M and sometimes F.” Both are adopted. A 61-year-old “Secular Jew of Color” is beside a Mexican and African American who is 40 years younger. Both are shaped by motherhood.
These four are among the 40 you’ll meet at the latest exhibition of The Passport Series at the new Paul Schell Gallery, in the Mayor’s Office at Seattle City Hall. The inaugural exhibition runs from November 6, 2014 through February 6, 2015.
As part of the public programming for the exhibition, I have been invited to install additional passports and a temporary “passport office” at the Seattle Human Rights Awards at Town Hall on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, from 6 to 7:30 pm. This free public event commemorates the December 10, 1948 signing of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office with the Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights, Office of Arts and Culture, Human Rights Commission, Disabilities Commission, LGBT Commission, Women’s Commission, among others.
Tired of being asked what you are? Visit my “passport office” at this event to meet others who feel the same way, who fight for our right to be who we are. See the creative ways they present themselves. Be a part of the growing Passport Series and traveling exhibition.
Paul Schell Gallery
Mayor’s Office at Seattle City Hall
600 4th Ave, Floor 7, Seattle, WA 98124-4749
For inquiries or to visit, contact email@example.com
Seattle Human Right Awards, Dec. 10, 6 pm
1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
RSVP on Facebook
Earlier this month, I invited people to support survivors of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, which devasted the central and southern Philippines. The response was truly inspiring. Friends donated $500 in 15 days to the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns, and each $10 donation earned them a ticket to my raffle to win “Waiting for a Prince.” The winning number, picked by Random.org, is….
#36 Alice McLean Barnes, Seattle!
Maraming salamat to all of the people who participated. Your generous donation will go a long way in helping the typhoon survivors meet their most basic needs so they can begin to rebuild their lives, their communities.
1 Len Adams
2 Marcos Martinez
3 Marcos Martinez
4 Sean Phelan
5 Sean Phelan
6 Sean Phelan
7 Ree Ah Bloedow
8 Janet SooHoo
9 Paola Maranan
10 Paola Maranan
11 Chris McFadden
12 Chris McFadden
13 Chris McFadden
14 Chris McFadden
15 Chris McFadden
16 Chris McFadden
17 Chris McFadden
18 Chris McFadden
19 Chris McFadden
20 Chris McFadden
21 Nina Greenblatt
22 Nina Greenblatt
23 Claire Garoutte
24 Claire Garoutte
25 Claire Garoutte
26 Claire Garoutte
27 Claire Garoutte
28 Victoria Alcoset
29 Mijo Lee
30 Mijo Lee
31 Lori Rath
32 Lori Rath
33 Lori Rath
34 Alice Barnes
35 Alice Barnes
36 Alice Barnes
37 Alice Barnes
38 Alice Barnes
39 Alice Barnes
40 Alice Barnes
41 Alice Barnes
42 Alice Barnes
43 Alice Barnes
44 Sue Kunimatsu
45 Sue Kunimatsu
46 Sue Kunimatsu
47 Sue Kunimatsu
48 Sue Kunimatsu
49 Laila Sudan
50 Laila Sudan
Thanks to those of you who have asked about my family since Typhoon Haiyan (also referred to as Typhoon Yolanda) devastated the central and southern Philippines. My family lives in Luzon and I am grateful that they were out of harms’ way. But many families of my friends are among the masses who have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. As difficult as it is to fathom such trauma, I know we don’t want to be paralyzed by it.
Would you please join me in taking action, in following our impulse to help and to extend hope?
Waiting for You: “Waiting for a Prince” Raffle
Eligibility: Anyone in the continental United States and Hawai’i may enter.
Each Entry is $10, but you can donate as much as you want, i.e. $20 is 2 entries, $30 is three entries.
Prize: One lucky winner will receive “Waiting for a Prince” (digital photograph, image size 8″x12″, matted 16″x20″). I will pay for shipping of this matted print.
Donation/Entry Process: Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2013*, please make a donation to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. Every $10 you give is an entry for this contest. You MUST forward your confirmation email from NAFCON to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and please include your name and preferred contact information. I will reply with your entry number and contact you if you win!
I will take “donations” until midnight PST on Dec. 15. The winner will be picked via Random.org and I will post the results of the drawing on Dec. 16.
* I know many of you have already donated to different Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. THANK YOU for your quick response! The survivors of this super typhoon have a very long and hard road to recovery, so there is still a need for monetary support for temporary shelter, food and other necessities as local people work to rebuild. This raffle is meant to spur new donations to help with the on-going need, so donations must be made between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2013 in order to qualify as a raffle entry.
About Waiting for a Prince
In September 2011, I returned to my birthplace. I was in Manila when Typhoon Pedring hit Luzon. It was nowhere near the force of Typhoon Haiyan, but it did break through the seawall. While I was waiting for the waters to recede, I saw strangers on this jeepney helping each other: Men would carry a passenger on their backs, deposit them onto higher ground, then go back for one or two more before moving on with their day. After Typhoon Haiyan, Filipinos continue to help each other. They aren’t necessarily waiting for princes to come to the rescue, but they are relying on each other and the global community to provide whatever resources we can share so they can take charge of their recovery and rebuild on their own terms. Please join me in supporting their efforts.
Maraming salamat po.
During the spring, I worked with amazing young people who are a part of the Transit Justice Youth Corps, a group supported by the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition and Puget Sound Sage. They wanted to highlight the beautiful diversity and successes of their neighborhood and also to address the safety and transit access that they and their neighbors are concerned about. These young leaders are awesome community organizers and social justice advocates who inspire me with their dedication and infectious enthusiasm.
Join me in celebrating their work and moving it forward! On Saturday, Sept. 12th at noon, we will officially unveil the bus mural we developed and created together at Renton Avenue South and South Henderson. Immediately afterwards, we’ll do a fun photo shoot at South Henderson and 50th Avenue South. Picture the Beatles’ Abbey Road, but RB-style.
For those of you who live in South Seattle’s Rainier Beach and Rainier Valley, come represent! We are looking for people of different ages, ethnicities, abilities and fashion sensibilities to walk across South Henderson at 50th Avenue South and be photographed for a future bus mural. We want people
- wearing long dresses and pants that cover the leg; skirts, shorts; various foot wear, like sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, boots
- using a wheelchair, walker, or cane
- riding skateboards, bikes, or strollers.
Come out and strut your stuff! I will be aiming my camera low, focusing primarily on people’s arms and legs, so around 4’6″ and below. Young children and others who are under this height limit are still invited to participate, but please know that your face may end up showing in the photograph. You’re welcome to bring a fun mask if you’d like!
The Rainier Beach Art Walk will be happening at this time, so you’ll have plenty of other beautiful artwork, local businesses and talented entertainment to check out. Hope to see you there!
I started out as a cultural worker primarily by writing about community issues for newspapers and non-profit organizations. More recently, I have turned to visual art. Through art, I feel like I can present the complexities of race, identity and my hopes for social justice in more nuanced ways that, I hope, can spark contemplation and conversation, and engage our collective imaginations to work for a better world where there’s room for all of us. On July 3rd, I joined fellow artist Jasmine Brown and community activist Sharon Maeda to discuss “Under My Skin,” the current exhibition on race in the 21st century now on display at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, on KBCS’ Music and Ideas program. Here’s a link to that discussion (listen to some great grooves first, or click on hour 2 and skip to the 30 minute mark).
The Wing Luke Asian Museum has put together an incredibly thoughtful, provocative collection of work by artists who want us to grapple with all the ways race and racism affect us all. Check it out.
On Wednesday, May 22nd, the International Examiner presented me with its 2013 Community Voice Award for Individual Artist. Since time was short (and I was also responding to/cracking up at the roast given by Soya Jung), I could not fully express my gratitude that night. Below is a more complete version of my intended remarks.
Thank you to the folks at the International Examiner for this honor. This is especially meaningful to me because it was through working as a writer and editor at the Examiner 20 years ago that I learned so much about our community and established relationships that continue to enrich my life to this day.
Someone said that giving is a learned behavior, and I learned that from my parents, Joseph and Cora del Rosario, who are here tonight. Once they were working, they put their younger siblings through college, showing me how important it is to help the next ones coming up.
I’ve also learned about giving from my partner, dear friends and friends of friends. They have literally given me keys to their homes so I could have a safe place to stay, not just when I’m traveling, but here in Seattle, when I needed it most. They have fed me, clothed me, comforted me. Besides meeting these very basic needs, they have also helped me move forward as an artist. They have bought my art and promoted my work to their family and friends. They have chipped in to send me to art workshops. They have given or loaned me photographic equipment and art supplies. They have mentored me and inspired me. They have opened doors to teaching, to exhibiting and to so much more. I can’t thank each of them enough for the ways they bless my life.
Now, these are all very personal exchanges. But there are those anonymous exchanges that have helped me get where I am and do what I do.
If you have ever paid sales tax in the state of Washington or federal taxes, thank YOU because you too have helped me.
When I needed dental work but didn’t have any insurance, you made it possible for me to go to International Community Health Services and Seattle Indian Health Board, so I could eat without pain and keep working.
When I needed primary health care but could only afford catastrophic health insurance, you made it possible for me to get quality care at a community clinic and afford low-cost prescriptions.
When I wanted to continue learning, you made it possible for me to take art classes at Seattle Central Community College.
Whenever I go teach young people art, you make it possible for me to get there by bus, so I can use parking and gas money on other necessities.
You make it possible for me to teach, to provide arts education to young people at community-based arts programs funded by Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. You make it possible for my work on race, gender and identity to be shown at the Wing Luke Asian Museum’s current exhibition, Under My Skin. You also make it possible for the collective I co-founded, IDEA Odyssey, to promote artists and visual art that explores culture, diversity and identity through funding from Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, 4Culture and the Washington State Arts Commission.
So thank you, each and every one of you. When you give not only to your loved ones, but to our collective community, you make it possible for each of us to get what we need in order to pursue our dreams and to keep giving back.
I have spent the last few months digging deep into work — teaching youth at various schools and community-based programs throughout King County, attending classes and workshops to further my own artistic development, and working on my own creative projects. Now, some of the fruits of this labor are beginning to bear fruit.
On Thursday, May 2nd, two of my photographs will be featured in Archetypes – Universal Touchstones: Pattern, Place and Space, at the Tashiro Kaplan building’s Corridor Gallery (306 S. Washington St., Seattle). The exhibition, which runs through June 3rd, features artists who participated in Artist Trust’s 2011 EDGE professional development program. As part of the First Thursday Art Walk, there will be an opening reception May 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. (I’ll be there from 7:30 to 9 p.m., if you’d like to stop by to say hello.)
The following week, Under My Skin opens at the Wing Luke Asian Museum (719 S. King St. Seattle). The exhibition features work by artists who explore race in the 21st century and runs May 10 through Nov. 17, 2013. There’s a free exhibition preview on Thursday, May 9, from 7-8 pm. I am especially happy that my “Passport” series will be part of this powerful exhibition. I’ll write in more detail about that in another post, but I am very grateful to the folks who collaborated with me on a project that I hope can continue and expand.
Last, two more of my photographs have been installed at bus shelters in Seattle and another one was accepted for future installation. “Ciao!” is at North 85th Street, and “Midwife’s Hands” is on Green Lake Drive North. Thanks to Dale Cummings at King County Metro and Photography Center Northwest for brightening up our city streets with this great public art program.
The sun is out here in Seattle, but I’m wearing gloves, hat and layers upon layers. But the strong shadows this rare winter sun is casting reminds me of when I was wearing sandals and a skirt, searching for shade on the parched streets of Mahajunga, Madagascar last summer.
“Baobab,” is now part of the faculty exhibition at Photography Center Northwest, which runs through January 28th. Stop by for the free public reception on Thursday, Jan. 10th, 6-8 pm, and check out the very diverse work by my colleagues. PCNW is at 900 12th Ave., Seattle.
Stay tuned for more new work.