Posts Tagged ‘washington dc’

Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt Then & Now

July 20, 2012

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  ~Herman Melville

A project with a very special place in my heart marks its 25th anniversary this year: The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.  I was introduced to The Quilt while in college at Bowling Green State University and soon became a volunteer for the project when sections of The Quilt would be shown on campus.

Words cannot describe the amount of honor and emotion I felt to be part of this experience and how humbling it was to be surrounded by such love, sadness, loss, humor, life, grief, and celebration stitched, painted, glued, ironed on, and uniquely created on each of the 3 x 6 foot panels in memory of a loved one’s life who had died of AIDS.  It was overwhelming.

My senior year at BGSU I dedicated to volunteering and interning at a community AIDS service organization in Toledo, Ohio called David’s House Compassion that provided a continuum of services for individuals living with HIV and AIDS, including residential housing, case management, respite, home visitation, and more.  I have many special memories of spending time at David’s House (making and eating Saturday night candle light dinners), making home visits to drop off food, providing respite to family members at the hospital to stay the night with their loved one, or helping out and making some art in a support group with children whose parent had died from AIDS.  I learned so much from everyone I met at David’s House about life, death, compassion, gratitude, and respect.

There were also sad and difficult moments. Several of the women and men that I visited or spent time with throughout my work at David’s House died before I finished my internship. This experience of multiple loss was important for me to process through journaling, supervision, as well as spending one night on the floor of my small dorm room working on a fabric panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of these seven individuals: Arnetta, Bob, Frank, Jack, John, Nancy, and Neshelle.  I then mailed my panel to the NAMES Project in the Spring of 1995 to honor, celebrate, and recognize their lives and the significant impact they each left on my life.

In the Fall of 1996, my brother and I decided to travel to Washington DC to view The Quilt displayed in its entirety at the National Mall over three days.  To my surprise on the train ride from Cleveland, the stop in Toledo (to pick up my brother) also included picking up some of the staff I knew from David’s House, as well as surviving family members who were also in route to see the display and had panels attached to the same block my panel was sewn into. There were so many people who attended this display, which stretched from one end of the Mall to the other with a sea of fabric.  Again, the visual surroundings, emotions, and sensory experience was overwhelming. It is a moment I will always remember.

In Memory of Arnetta, Bob, Frank, Jack, John, Nancy, & Neshelle

In June 2012, The Quilt was shown throughout the DC area to mark the 25th Anniversary in various institutions, centers, and organizations serving as hosts.  The Quilt has become so large, several locations were needed to accommodate the space needed to show it.  The panel I created was on display as part of Smithsonian Folklife Festival in late June.

Click on this image to view a short video introducing this event:

Creativity & Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt [VIDEO]

Beginning July 21 through July 25, The Quilt will be on display again in its entirety through rotated stages on the National Mall in Washington DC , as well as throughout 50+ venues around the DC Metro area.  For those who cannot attend this special event, this year’s anniversary also launched the application and site AIDS Quilt Touch, which allows locating panels online through keyword search of an individual’s name and will track panels as they travel to other venues for future displays.

AIDS Quilt Touch | Block #4083

I was able to search for and locate (on the first try!) the block that my panel is a part of through the AIDS Quilt Touch website, as well as discover its recent showing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. What a helpful resource through the use of technology to connect this community together, as well as create a virtual, worldwide environment for memorializing and still much needed awareness through the power, stories, and history of The Quilt.

You can read more information about the 2012 AIDS Memorial Quilt Display and 25th Anniversary here:

Learn how to host a display of The Quilt in your community herecheck out upcoming displays for viewing, or how to contribute a panel.

Bridging Papermaking & Art Therapy at GMU

May 21, 2012

CPP Exhibit @ Corcoran Gallery of Art

I just returned from an amazing week of events and helping co-lead a Papermaking as Art Therapy for Trauma Intervention workshop with Peace Paper’s Drew Matott at George Mason University as part of Arts, Military, + Healing: A Collaborative Initiative, — a project developed by Tappert & Associates as part of The Arts and the Military.  This week long event was hosted by the Veteran Artist Program (VAP) and included organizations and programs such as Combat Paper Project, Combat Paper NJ, Peace Paper, The Telling Project, and Warrior Writers facilitating workshops at various sites throughout the DC area.

Studio 1009 @ GMU

The workshop that Drew and I presented at GMU included presenting considerations important to papermaking, art therapy, and trauma, as well as provided participants the hands on opportunity to take a significant article of their own clothing to learn the transformative process of making it into paper.

Papermaking!

Participants de-constructed/cut up the article of clothing (rag) they brought, had this rag made into pulp, and then learned how to pull and form sheets of their own paper with an introduction to western papermaking.  Participants were also introduced to creative sheet formation (layering pulp of different colors), how to make and use screens from a meaningful photograph for pulp painting, and how to bookbind with the paper we made throughout the week.

AMH Papermakers @ GMU! | Photo: Erwin Thamm

The week flew by!  Lots of meaningful, thoughtful paper and art was reclaimed and made in Studio 1009.  It was an honor to be part of this experience and work with everyone who attended- thank you to all the participants!  Another thank you to the VAP team, George Mason University’s School of Art and Design, Helen Fredrick, and Patrick Sargent for being our hosts during this workshop…such wonderful facilities, equipment, inspiration, and support!

You can check out photos from all the amazing workshops, receptions, performances, and AMH events by viewing this slideshow from VAP.  You can also learn about upcoming Peace Paper activities & papermaking workshops in 2012, as well as follow Peace Paper’s travels and happenings through Facebook.

Update (5/23):  View this video & news piece by Nicole Goodrich from the workshop published via The Army Times.

Peace Paper: Papermaking, Art Therapy, and Social Action On the Move in 2012

December 12, 2011

A new project and team that I am very excited to be involved with is Peace Paper, founded by Drew Matott and Margaret Mahan to empower bereaved international communities through engagement in collaborative art processes addressing peaceful reconciliation and positive forward thinking.  Through paper, writing, book, and printmaking activities, Peace Paper workshop participants transform significant articles of clothing into works of art which broadcast their stories.

Peace Paper announced its 2012 Tour Schedule last week, which includes a variety of workshops, conferences, teaching, and training across the US (Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington DC, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York , Kansas) as well as international visits in Eskulan, Kosovo, Turkey, India, and more with the project’s amazing creative team.

There are a few art therapy focused offerings for 2012 that Drew, Margaret, and I will be facilitating:

  • May 14 – 18- Arts and the Military Conference, Washington, D.C.– As part of The Arts and Military Conference hosted by George Mason University, Drew and I will be offering a five-day papermaking workshop for art therapists and survivors of trauma. This workshop will focus on technical training, practical applications, and hands-on demonstrations of papermaking and implementation for trauma intervention.
  • September 6-8- Buckeye Art Therapy Association Symposium, Dublin, Ohio–  Margaret, Drew, and I will be in the Columbus area as part of the 2012 BATA Symposium. This will include a full day pre-conference workshop for a limited audience to provide participants an understanding about how the papermaking process can be beneficial with populations as a form of social action and therapeutic transformation in trauma and loss intervention.  During the BATA Symposium, we will present a keynote presentation on the topic of art as social action, focusing on lecture and visual content related to utilizing papermaking and creative expression as a cathartic process to give meaning, create transformation, and provide empowerment through releasing and reforming fibers into new stories and new beginnings.   A workshop offering entitled, “Expressions for Peace” will invite Symposium attendees on the following day to create their own reflections and expression for peace on handmade paper flags created from Peace Paper’s recent travels.
  • October 12 & 13- Kansas Art Therapy Association Conference, Emporia, KS– Margaret, Drew, and I will be conducting a two-day workshop for art therapists, including a lecture highlighting Art as Social Action and Papermaking as Trauma Therapy.  This event will also include an exhibit of Peace Paper artworks.
I am so looking forward to teaming up with Margaret and Drew again in 2012 for these events.  Save the date(s) and stayed tuned for more details on each of these offerings!  You can also stay connected to Peace Paper updates and news on Facebook, on the web, and follow the project’s travels through the Peace Paper blog.
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