I am a calligrapher. What I create centers around thought-provoking statements, sayings, and ideas. The work I am creating for these two pieces will hang in an assisted living center with a total of 72 residents, in Boca Raton, Florida. As I have been working on the mats (which is always where I begin creating), I have been pondering what to write. What ideas, thoughts, or inspirational words can I bring to the walls of this facility? And where do I start?
I took a picture of the mission statement hanging in the lobby. It’s a bad shot, but you can read the text if you squint!
Besides the family of a future resident, who actually reads that plaque? How many people pass it each day and never pay any attention to what it says? How do I bring other words into that environment to compliment the mission and vision of the organization while serving their residents? Will anyone actually read my work, or will it too become another item that gets passed on the way down the hall? How do I bring life to the walls and encourage people who are passing my art while on the way to somewhere else? Okay, maybe I am thinking too much, but I feel a great sense of responsiblity here. My art is not passive, it is active. It requires people to read and engage in order to enjoy and experience it. …Now hold that thought…
In my corporate job something very interesting happened today. I was walking toward the elevators on my floor when I saw a stack of framed stuff piled up along the wall. I’m not talking about one or two things, I’m talking about twenty-five to thirty framed pieces stacked in various piles all around the elevators. What? Was I imagining that? Huh? Art stacked up in piles with dust, and broken frames, and broken glass, and dated prints and ugly crumpled “stuff” crammed in corners of tattered and twisted frames. Various sizes, shapes and colors all over the lobby of our floor. It was a shock, I wasn’t expecting to be confronted with art when I turned the corner. I asked someone what was going on, and she said facilities was cleaning out the storage closets of all the “junk” and we were free to take what we wanted otherwise it would be thrown away. I rifled through the pile of outdated and unwanted artwork to scrounge for frames and mats. (C’mon, any self-respecting artist would do the same thing!!!) I took three very large pieces back to my cubicle and plan to take them home later this week. I can reuse the frames somewhere in the future (not for OBT, I already have new frames for these works) and I will use the mats to create work to go inside.
Things that make ya’ go hhhhmmmm. …Back to that earlier thought…
NOW you can hopefully see my point. I do not want to create art that ends up stacked by the elevators in ten years for people to grab before it gets tossed in the dumpster. I want the work I create for these walls to inspire and encourage for decades to come. I want people to go out of their way to pass my work so they can read it and think and be encouraged. And if the facility group ever does redecorate, I want people to beg for my work and maybe even wrestle each other to the ground because they want my work in their apartment. Can you imagine mature adults wrestling each other to the ground over art? I can – and I do – and I hope that my work is something each person cherishes as they pass it in the hall each day on their way to somewhere else.
You might think I am too passionate about creating something for a center occupied by people who are in the later years of this journey called life. You might think who cares, it’s just art for an adult care facility, or something to cover the bland walls. Well if you think that way, THANK GOD you are not the one creating or decorating for OBT. I am excited and challenged to create for this amazing group of people. These residents are someone’s family, they are talented and bright and have led incredible lives with global adventures and are leaving a legacy for the next generation by the lives and choices they have made along their journey. They deserve the best we can offer and I look forward to seeing and hearing their reactions to my work on their walls. It is an honor and a privilege.
I hope you can relate to my passion and feel my dilemma. The sense of responsibility of creating something that will touch lives and bring hope to what might otherwise be a routine day at OBT. Ponder, ponder, ponder. Ugh! I don’t have the answer yet, but I had better get one soon. These works need to be in Florida the week of September 14th. Yikes! For me this Labor Day weekend will take on a whole different meaning. I will be working on a labor of love and am just as excited as you to see what develops. So stay tuned, I’ll keep blogging and posting as these artworks progress…And yes, I am still pondering what to write….