Thursday, May 07, 2009

Three hard days and we have reached a checkpoint in the beginning of our biggest mural project to date. UNITING the UNITED STATES! It all begins with the children of one small community...the youth...then we will reach out to the entire country. This is the invitation to the nation.

We sat in 11 classrooms and worked with 270 students to create a united mural from the free minds and fresh insights of kids ranging from 5 years old to 18 years old. The ideas that came forth and were presented from brush to board was truly inspiring. So inspiring that I think already this mural will rate as one of my favorites.

There is a certain beauty in children. There is this freedom that I wish we all would retain in our minds as we age. The youngest participants in the mural hesitated the least when it came to putting forth their ideas. They weren;t worried about what others would think or whether their idea was good enough. They just painted. As did many of them...but as we worked with higher age groups you could see the level of hesitancy increase.

BUT...this was a team project.

Every piece was important for the collaborative but also was the powerful voice of each participant. As we gathered in the classrooms with the students the energy would build. They began to realize that they were going to create an amazing project with their fellow classmates and other schools from around the city. Their fears, if they had any, suddenly became excitement. As we worked with them on their paintings they gained confidence and they realized that they were just as important as the person next to them in the mural. Every piece was important!

The classes ended and we took the paintings back to the hotel. We painted and updated the class lists. Documented all the panels and started piecing the mural together to see where we were at. It was a long day but a good one. A really good one.

From what we saw today and what we experienced while we were doing the classes...I am going to sleep well tonight knowing that something really good is going to happen. Something really special...yes....I can't wait...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The second day in Utah went really well. Just as crazy busy as the first but felt more like routine. We started with junior high class, sandwiched two elementary classes in and then finished with a high school art class. The high school class was a great finish to the day as they really got into their paintings.
Actually all the kids immersed themselves into their paintings.But it was funny when the kindergarten kids heard the lunch bell...suddenly painting was second on their mind and food dominated their thoughts.

We have one more day tomorrow and then back on the plane home.
We are going to hopefully have a chance to go off into the mountains tomorrow evening and see some of the beauty of the Salt Lake region.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Day 2 in Utah and the first day with the students. Pretty intense day. Up at 6:30 a.m. and quick breakfast then off to the first school.
We were a little late but the kids were happy to see us. Lewis right away got the ball rolling and the all were thrilled. Paint was flying and the mural was on its way. We had two hours (well...actually about an hour and a half after set up and clean up) to have the kids paint a panel into the mural. They were pulling it off though and so was Lewis with his great way with the kids.
This is definitely where Lewis shines. He is a master with the kids. I can only watch and be the cheerleader. Well...I guess I bring the kids more paint and joke around with them too. I add my little tips here and there too but truth is Lewis is a buzz saw and its best to just keep them smiling until Lewis gets around to each and everyone of them. Which he does!!

We did four classes today each 2 hours long with a half hour sprint from one school to the next in between. Literally we would run out of the school and drive feverishly to the next school and set up again and get the kids painting asap. We ended at 6 p.m.....with a big sigh.

COOL THING though is that we had FOX news waiting for us in the second class of the day. A very large man by the name Big Budha (apparently seems to be a "morning show legend" on TV around here) was waiting to do an interview. Quickly he realized we were foreigner's when we showed a complete cluelessness as to who he was. Lewis in his charming way of always mixing names up called him Big Baba (meaning Ukrainian Grandma back where we are from ). He certainly didn't look like a Ukrainian women. In fact he looked more like a dangerous James Bond character who would remove his hat and throw it at you and it would slice your head off in an instant...especially if you call him Big Babba instead of Big Budha. It was good for a laugh as he corrected Lewis a couple of times.

Although its a long day it still went pretty smoothly and we have two more of these days to go. and we start earlier tomorrow. So once again...good night from Utah. More tomorrow....

Sunday, May 03, 2009

So we landed today in Salt Lake City Utah. The beginning of one of our biggest mural projects yet. Hard to believe what we are starting here. On Monday we are beginning creating a mural with 11 schools in South Jordan City to lead into the giant mural that will unite all the United States. We will be up at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow and working all day lone with four schools tomorrow as a kick off to the mural.

To create these murals with children as young as 5 years old all the way to high school is incredibly rewarding. The unveiling of the mural is quite breathtaking. Not so much for the actual mural but for how each student feels just how important they truly are to the big picture. Really warms your heart.

Needless to say there is alot going on. On top of all that we are still touring the Horse Gift and we are beginning lining up the artists for the west coast mural KUNAMOKST!

So tonight I will have to get me some sleep as tomorrow its into th fire with students all day long. But what a day it will be!!

Pictures and more writing tomorrow. But sleep first.

Peace ;-)