When you take on the task of downsizing file cabinets, there’s hardly any chance of getting away without being sentimental. Finding an old class list, a letter from a former student – it puts me in a state of reverie.
As we head into our 22nd year, I’d like to share my thoughts on what Art Sphere Inc. has accomplished since we first started in 1998.
Kristin Groenveld ASI Executive DirectorKristin is Art Sphere’s Executive Director. She founded the organization in 1998 to engage young people as activists in their communities through multidisciplinary arts education.
I like to describe what we do as “artistic first aid” for decomposing public spaces in neighborhoods across the city or for participants in need of compassion.
While we don’t build anything that goes high up in the air like a skyscraper, what we do build is equally as wide and exponentially more far-reaching.
While I love to teach all ages, I particularly find the populations Art Sphere Inc. works with a joy to teach. Outside of formal school settings, our participants and volunteers are often so eager to learn. Like giving water to the thirsty plant, every drop of knowledge, hands-on experience, and art materials are appreciated.
A good quality of life is more than what we physically have, it is also understanding who we are and living a life where we can express ourselves freely.
It is making a contribution to our society and feeling a part of something greater. What makes our souls feel wealthy is having an abundance to give: whether it’s inmates who are sharing their wisdom and knowledge of the streets with teenagers, to prevent them from making the same mistakes. Or high school custodian expressing her dream of having her first birthday cake, that motivated our mural painting class to learn how to use silverware and go to a sit down restaurant.
Even the admiration of a young child learning to draw fish that inspired a pair of seniors to bring their fishing equipment to teach neighborhood kids about their hobbies.
When I’m teaching, here are the things I ask myself – “How do I get you to…
- Have fun?
- Enjoy school?
- Make friends?
- Feel great about your project?
- Feel like an amazing and incredible success?
If there is only one thing that I would like you to achieve through our art programs, it is to hold a space for the highest good on your soul’s journey. We are our own artworks in how we chose to live.
“Some people… strengthen others just by being the kind of people they are.” – John M. Gardner