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 to...how 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.

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