One. All I want for Christmas is 3 kittens and a bag of festive socks…
Two. I love lists and this is a really good one:
Three. I would like to introduce you to my labor of love as of late: the #KnowJustice Project. Between writing grants, researching, and planning out the implementation… this has been on my mind constantly. I. am. so. stoked. for. this. I probably won’t be around to see it happen, which is tough on the ol’ heartstrings. But I digress…
First of all, did you know that Iowa ranks #1 in the nation for over-incarcerating minority men? A 2014 ACLU report found that they are 8 times more likely (compared to a national average of 3.7) to be imprisioned than Caucasians for the same drug posession charges. Right now it feels like a day rarely passes that we don’t hear about police brutality, a school shooting, or racial profiling. These layered, complex issues involve cycles and systems that seem overwhelmingly hopeless of change.
#KnowJustice aims to show youth entrenched in our judicial system that hope for them as individuals is not lost. We believe their life experiences and voices matter. At ArtForceIowa, we don’t stand in judgement of what they’ve done, but in awe of their creative potential (I am blown away by the kids I work regularly). #KnowJustice will give them the tools and opportunity to learn about their personal rights, contemplate their own participation in the justice system, and to respond creatively through art. Using art to elevate the voices of minority, court-involved youth, this project engages the public in a discourse around system disproportionality and the social injustices these youth face. The project has three components:
- ArtForceIowa youth who are out of detention will participate in a series of workshops instructed by a group of Drake law students from the Children’s Rights Clinic. In an effort to ensure that youth today comprehend their personal rights, discussions will center around how to handle interactions with law enforcement, what it means to have free speech, and what their rights are at school and in detention. They will be encouraged to think critically and respond artistically, creating work reflective of what they learned in relation to their own experiences.
- Youth residing in detention will be collaborating with local artist activists to explore, analyze, and strengthen the connections between personal rights, social activism, and artistic practice. The result will be a participatory visual art installation that is designed and conceptualized around the personal narratives of youth facing significant adverse experiences and systematic disproportionality.
- In a society where a lot of tension exists around minority youth and the justice system, it is the youth involved who largely remain voiceless. In the media, it is not their stories, feelings, and thoughts heard. The #KnowJustice exhibit at Polk County Heritage Gallery will display the art installation and other work created by the youth at ArtForceIowa and the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center, giving them a public platform to express and voice their experiences. The exhibition will run for 6 weeks, giving the public an opportunity to better understand the challenges faced by this underrepresented, marginalized demographic. Throughout the exhibition, other special events will take place such as a poetry slam and public roundtable.
Four. My friend Jacci posted this hilarious article about a sub Reddit feed where ‘Former Emo Kids Have Been Posting What They Look Like Now That They’ve Grown Up’. I don’t have much evidence of me in that phase thanks to DELL desktop computer crashses and the decline of Myspace, but I did find one picture. I think this is Andrew and I at a high school wrestling match when we were 15. He’s rocking a double popped collar and tiger stripe highlights. I’m wearing a Mewithoutyou band tee. I remember that night we went to Smokey Row, played Candyland and Tetris, and took pictures that we later edited on Windows Paint. LOL.
And here we are almost 11 years later. Somehow still best friends. And I’ll have you know that hours after this picture was taken, we freaked out over Spotify adding The Spill Canvas’ old albums to their repitoire (yes, I have periodically checked ever since I opened an account).
Five. Friday night I danced, drank and delighted in the festiveness of Peace Tree’s Annual Holiday Sweater Party with Jaxine, my parents, and the friends we made in there (my favorite being Matt, in his ‘Fleece Navidad’ outfit). My professor/academic advisor at Grand View was playing in his band, The Monday Mourners. So that was fun. Woot woot.
Six. This is kind of old news, but I love the app PHHHOTO. Go download it. It does stuff like this:
Seven. I just finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and it has got me all fired up about creativity. I think 2016 is going to be a year of big magic that I make for myself, if nothing else.
“Stop complaining. Every time you talk about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, your inspiration takes another step away from you, offended. I started telling myself that I enjoyed my work. I proclaimed that I enjoyed every single aspect of my creative endeavours- the agony and the ecstasy, the success and the failure, the joy and the embarrassment, the dry spells and the grind…It is not about how you write, or paint, or play… it is about why: because of delight. You must live your most creative life as a means of fighting back against the ruthless furnace of this world.”