The long-awaited story of my internship: I've been volunteering at Heartside Ministry for coming up on three months. After emailing one day without a clear idea of how I could help, I was first assigned to tutor in the GED center and liaison with the Public Library - a big part of Heartside Ministry is connecting downtown Neighbors to outside resources, which is also the Library's mission: "Connecting people to the transforming power of knowledge."
I was also introduced to the Heartside Gallery, a fabulous gallery and free drop-in studio. There is a generally-2d studio upstairs and woodworking, pottery, and fabric arts downstairs. Some of our artists are homeless, disabled, or have mental health problems, others are just down on their luck or lack another creative environment. More than the Library ever could, the studio helps protect and cultivate self-identity: through creation, our artists demonstrate that they are so much more than a litany of half-met needs. Many of the art supplies are donated and volunteers facilitate and keep things organized. I started out as a studio volunteer and was invited by the art director, Sarah, to upgrade to "Marketing and Design Intern" while still volunteering in the studio and GED center. It's perhaps slightly unusual since I'm not interning through KCAD, just helpin' out as I'm able. (More type and two drawings after the jump.)
Thus far I've been working on brochures and printing, am starting to work on new vinyl-cut window signage, and have been helping send some studio folks to The Museum of Everything in bleeding LONDON! Two of our artists, Willie Jones and Mark Wilson, were invited to submit work for Exhibition #4 in September, and Sarah boxed up and shipped a ton of work earlier in the summer. Sadly, Mark Wilson passed away in 2008 but Willie, Sarah, and Mark's sister Sue are all invited to attend the show IN FRACKING LONDON.
Naturally, sending three people to London for a week is rather expensive, so Sarah and volunteer Mike (and I, with a little research and a lot of listening) put together a Kickstarter to help fund the adventure. And Willie was on the front page of the Press! And then we made the bare minimum goal!
And then you went here ^ London Kickstarter ^ and contributed a dollar, five dollars, your belly button lint in the final hours to help ensure these beautiful people can eat and sleep while representing Heartside and Grand Rapids across the pond.
On a personal level Heartside is also amazing. One of my main reasons for contacting the ministry about volunteering was the need to form a deeper connection with the downtown residents I see every day at the Library. Three months on, I'm still being recognized from the Library, learning names and stories, and meeting even more amazing people. The studio also unexpectedly put me back in contact with tiny art powerhouse Alysha Lach, a privilege I have been exploiting to its fullest extent. And finally, the energy of the studio has me slowly, tentatively beginning to create for myself again. Both these sketches are smaller than 4x5, the first in my small sketchbook, the second with random paper and colored pencil from the studio.
click image to enlage
click image to enlarge