As an artist, I am always looking for ways to use my artwork to make the world a better place. Now more than ever, it is important to find a way to make a difference, no matter how small it might be.
This time last year I had the spark of an idea to create a project that was bigger than I anything I had ever done before. I was inspired by so many touching stories about people from all over the country showing up in their own communities to provide some form of help. They were using their time, their talents and their generosity to support others and in doing so, making their tiny corner of the world a more loving place. Their actions ignited a yearning in me that I couldn't ignore. I wanted to find my own, unique way to offer my gifts and bring people together in hopes of spreading joy and happiness. I imagined inspiring a group of people to join me so that we could offer something positive, hopeful and healing to our communities. And in the process, belonging to something bigger than ourselves, we would collectively heal together.
Fast forward a year later! My little spark of an idea evolved into what is now "The Together While Apart Art Project." This collaborative artwork is out in the world having the impact I first envisioned it to have when I had that spark of inspiration one year ago. I found 18 compassionate, kind hearted and dedicated people to support and encourage me and my vision. They believed in this idea and joined me on this journey, supporting me every step of the way. I discovered community, fellowship and an antidote to my own loneliness and anxiety among this online community of creatives who represented 8 different states and both coasts. They each took the time and energy to pour themselves into their individual contributions unsure of what the final outcome would be. They too could visualize how 6" x 6" cardboard squares could one day become a beautiful tapestry of artwork that would delight and offer happiness to all who viewed it.
I wanted this art project to honor all the front line and healthcare workers who showed up for work each day, risking their own lives so that the rest of us could remain safely at home. They are the true heroes of the pandemic.
Thanks to the energy and imagination generated by The Together While Apart artists, we created a genuine, impactful wonderful piece of art. This amazing artwork is a symbol of community, hope and healing and gave each artist purpose and focus during an unprecedented time in our lives. Thanks to a simple idea that I couldn't ignore and a garage full of cardboard boxes, my vision is now a reality. This incredible artwork is traveling around the East coast on a 10 month exhibition tour. It has also found a forever home and will be permanently acquired by The University of Virginia Medical Center with installation scheduled for June 2022.
My message for you today is to "SAY YES" to any and all visions, dreams and aspirations you have. When you have an idea, run with it! Be your own cheerleader and find a group of people who will support you and raise you up in your vision, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. Take that walk outside so you can hear what's in your heart and understand what truly lights you up. No one else can give you those answers and you won't find them sitting in front of your computer. Trust yourself and value the amazing things that make you YOU! Allow your own dreams to take form. You won't regret it and you will be giving yourself and the world the most beautiful offering.
I had so much fun with The Together While Apart Project, I want to do another one!