Monday, April 16, 2018

Future Facing Art and Poetry: Sparks that Connect

This is a proposal that Poet Hiram Larew and I have submitted to Montpellier Art Center for an exhibition in their library gallery. Our vision is to weave together two distinct disciplines with multiple thematic inter-sections to explore and create.

Our recipe: 
First take Hiram's amazingly visual poetry!

Looking up seems early
I’m going to slip outside as soon as
sprigs poke and fences shine
Scout about until you wave me in for breakfast
I’m going to lean into my wishes
Because this is the nickel time of spring
When legs seem longer.

There are better ways of learning
Ways as ready as your bird box
There are better people
Ones who get polished by the wind
And there are better seeds
The kind that wait a year or two.

But it’s hard to wait when everything is curling
When time slips through curtains to let us know
That this chance is more than our pillows
It’s quicker than that
It’s kind of like our neighbor
Who slides a box of kale starts
Onto the porch first thing
Chuckling not to wake us.

And mix in, until well blended my own paintings and installations,

Cook til seared on the outside and pink on the inside. 
While hot layer with movement, sounds and color. Serve immediately!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mixed Media Selfies Workshop May 5

Mixed Media Selfies May 5 10-3pm Gratitude Garden 
This idea came to me as I was scanning my professional slides into digital format this past Winter. When I was looking through the prints and paintings that were my artwork in the 80s and 90s, I noticed multiple self portraits from that period.
I'm so glad to see them again and I am amazed at the little snippets that they bring out from those moments. This is the earliest one I found, it's a photo silkscreen pront. It is as you can see an Ebony Magazine wig ad! The quote on the bottom left is a frequent phrase from my mommy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Greetings friends,

You are welcome to come and share creative space with me this Summer. I decided to open the studio and garden to creative spirits to have some fun-honor nature and build community. You and your friends are welcome! I'll see you on May 5!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Papermaking with plant fibers in Delray Beach FL Feb 2018

I’m in Florida, wearing flops, sunhats and tanks! 
I am so happy and appreciative to be visiting my dear friend Marcie this year. Here is a synopsis of my creative goings on and a picture of the results of my work so far. 
Pineapple leaf paper-won't come off of the mold though.
These pineapple leaves were so generously donated by The Boys Market here on Military Trail.

How did I make this lovely pineapple paper? Well, my creative goal this year, while I am in Florida is to create some new sculptural charms with local plant fiber and I’m already at it. 

Here is a photo of the homegrown lemongrass that I planted in Marcie’s front yard last winter. The plant, I have been told was taller than 5ft and just as much around. It was trimmed back just before I arrived and the trimmings were saved for my use. So I soaked the grass in water and boiled it for way too long (12 hrs).

To be continued 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Schmitt Camp Compass Rose mural project Nature quest 2017

Everyone in PGPS comes to visit Camp Schmitt in 5th grade. And this has been true for years. I have mentioned the place to grown folks who remember their experiences there.

Summer 2017 is the first year of a partnership between PGCPS and PG Parks around a theraputic recreation experience for young people up to age 21 who attend North/Central and South county programs.

I was asked by PGParks to serve as project artist on a ground mural project. It was an ambitious project as the site was a mess and it was also quite large. 20ft diameter.

This is what it looked like 3 days before the 3 days that I had to get it done.
There was a core group of participants for whom the camp was home base and with whom I worked each day. In addition the was a bus load of additional participants who came out each day.
For this project I designed the mural image in accordance with the desires of the PGParks and Camp Schmitt folks and with a scant idea of the skill level of our participants.

The staff at the camp got rid of the plants that were growing in the cracks and primed the mural area and we were ready for the project. The participants were awesome!

Everyone got into it and by the end of the week, with lots of help from the Schmitt staff, PGParks' Stewart Seal and artist Bonnie Simmonds we got it done! Absolutly beautiful! Each day there were folks who were so excited to be painting....outdoors and right there on the ground! Job well done by all!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nature Quest 2017 Bladensberg Waterfront Park Mural

This beautiful mural was created by the PG Park's 2017 Summer Youth Employment Program. 12 young people, totally connected to their phones formed their own work groups, ideas and went at it.

The physical visual results are awesome. As project artist I am left feeling some kinda way about the fact that I had so little interaction with the youth, even though I held space with them for 6 good days.

I think that I made a pivotal mistake when I first arrived into their space. They had been working together for a month and had already developed a work team culture.
The mistake being that I asked a couple of the youth to put their phone away while we work together.
That moment was pivotal in how we were to engage. I saw the look in their eyes, no one was going to comply with my request and I essentially thought  that my creative work party was not going kick off...ever!

I tried to build that bridge to collaboration again the next day by offering a compromise-no phones while we organize our work day and share ideas and that the painting time would be ok to be plugged in. After reaching out with no response, I decided to stand back-and be ready to support when asked.

In my nature programs interaction is crucial. We are all sharing that natural setting which in this case was dockside Anacostia river. I'm able to bring light aspects that are present in our environment that may not necessarily be noticed. For me when 12 different folks have 12 different head phones on, listening to 12 different things, that I have no idea what they are listening do I find the inter-sectionality?
In this case each participant gave it their all and the results are awesome, they were happy with their work and as you can see were also proud of what they had accomplished.

I am left with a challenged mind and heart as to how to have better connected with PG Park's 2017 Summer Youth Employment participants.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 NATURE QUEST projects with PG Parks

The PG Parks' Summer youth campers gave a nature centered interpretation to Muhammad Ali's famous quote!

Vansville CC

Bladensberg CC


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Art Tells the truth about Dollar Tree Products


Today is the day that we have all been working toward. 
Visual art and action partner today at the Coming Clean action today at the Dollar Tree Inc Shareholder Meeting in Norfolk VA.

The demand is for the Dollar Tree Inc to do the right thing NOW! 

I am so excited to have had the opportunity to visualize the real deal about the products that we buy at these dollar stores in our communities.

This process was interesting as when I was asked to create a visual presence for this important action I do that with community-it is the community's voice that I would want to be on the art...
No problem since we have Dollar Tree, Dollar General, 5 below and various independent dollar stores in our community-so I went to downtown Clinton, MD for inspiration. And this is what manifested in love and solidarity!

Friday, March 31, 2017

PCM 2017 is coming up April 29 in DC, are you coming to town?

Did you all hear that there is an Honoring Our Sacred Rivers community art project that I'm involved with in the lead up to the Peoples Climate March? I'm inspired and actively co-creating in an expansive river loving community, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network's Patuxent, Anacostia and Potomac Riverkeepers.

Working with the healing energy that runs with the rivers is totally cool.
This time has reminded me of stories that my mommy shared with me about her baptism in the Raritan River in NBNJ.
I'm so glad that I have stories of how we lived with and interacted with our environment when there was such abundance of access. Let's share our stories.

Ready for our day tomorrow w/Potomac Riverkeeper

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I’m so glad that you stopped by Caryl’s Art Happenings!

Hello beautiful people,  
As you may know, this Artist with a Purpose has just returned to      Maryland from 2 months in Florida learning so much while co-creating Community Garden Art projects!                         

What a blessing-to co-create in Farmworker communities around 
our commonality LOVING MOTHER EARTH!                                                    


My time with the Farm Workers Association of Florida-La Asociacion Campesina de Florida this Winter has been amazing, while visioning our project there was a lot of Sharing Stories about gardening in our families, ancestry and our current practice.

I traveled South right after the Women's March to visit four distinct Farmworker communities in Pierson, Fellsmere, Homestead and Apopka. 


FWAF has co-created community gardens at each site engaging their community in a cooperative model. This is very important, especially because often communities live in classic food deserts.  
Yes, I did say that the people who grow our food live in food deserts! 

The gardens are a labor of love by all who participate. I was honored to work with those who love nature as I do and were open to creative action. There was so much wisdom about the plants, the land and water, the animals and birds, insects….you get the idea.

More pics and stories to follow....
This project is supported by:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sembrando Semillas Creciendo Nuestras Historias Ancestrales Community Tótem Project

-->Meet Our Interns-
Both interns shared that they have a greater understanding of how enpowering  the act of bringing artmaking-creativity and imagination into community building activities can be.

Adan Rodriguez, 17 

 Mariely Castillo, 18,

 They are both students at Sebastian River High School, in Fellsmere FL.

This Week Adan and Mariely are interns with the Farmworkers Association of Florida. Their work will be with artist and Environmental Justice activist 
Caryl Henry Alexander.

Together they will co-create 4 garden totems for a project titled
Sembrando Semillas, Creciendo Nuestras Historias  Ancestrales
with the Fellsmere Camposino community.

On Thursday and Friday evening they got oriented to the project plan of action, created concepts and themes that reflect their community and developed designs and made  preparations for the painting on Saturday and Sunday.

Adan saw a post on social media and thought it would be fun to see what was going on. He was interested in the art aspect of this project and experiencing something
new. Adan has worked with the Farmworkers Association of Florida on a local, state
and national level. He says his most rewarding as well as his most challenging thing about this project was painting and getting to meet new people.

Adan said Thursday, and Friday were both interesting climax of ideas and
brainstorms of abstract thought for the paintings which were to be painted
Saturday. Saturday was a commotion which played out smoothly as the day came to
a close with beautiful art as a product. Sunday was the day that everything came to a
close, with music, food, and art to accompany the mood.

For Mariely her dad owns a plot in the community garden and Maria, the garden manager asked Mariely if she was interested in working on the community art project.  Mariely has volunteered at The Lords Table Food Kitchen since last summer and thought  that this community art with a purpose would be fun.

Mariely appreciates the fact that the project work  groups are small so that we can keep ourselves together. She said that all the nights were interesting but Saturday and Sunday were the most fun because everyone was painting.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Rollingcrest/Chillum CC Heros and Sheros Totem Project March 2016

at Rollingcrest/Chillum CC
The young artists who participated in the project were too cute and too proud of their community's Heros and She-ros!