Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Check us out at our new website: thevillageartproject.wordpress.com.

You'll find all of our past posts from this site at our new website. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Telling Stories

 Some of us from the small community that does The Village Art Project have been mentoring kids from the neighborhood.  Since we’re older than them I suppose we’re technically the mentors, but they continue to be our teachers.  We got together the other night in an old movie theater Grace Church owns and used to meet in for services.  We read them a story.  As the story progressed they realized they were not just listening: they were actors as well.  The story is included below with italics explaining the role the kids played in the story.

Title: Strangerlings, Othernessess, and How Their Story Changed Everything

When the kids walked in the room there was a lot of open space; we moved the chairs that generally rest in the auditorium.  Down front, in the middle, was a wall of cardboard boxes.  Spread throughout the auditorium were two sets of relay race objectives waiting to be completed.  We split the kids into two groups and put them on each side of the wall.  Then we talked to them about the power of story.  About the way a story has the ability to influence and make people think differently about who they are and what they’re place is in the world.  We let them know there’s a thing called a metastory, and that we think the bible is a metastory – a big overarching story that all other stories are compared to and weighed against – we told them it’s the kind of story you can indwell.  Then, finally, we told them that we’re going to tell them a story, and we told them that as we tell it – they just might find themselves as actors in it.     

Once upon a time; in a land far, far away; long, long ago; in the deep, dark Forest of Matterhorn, at the foot of the Hullabaloo Mountains, by the Hippocampus Waterfall that empties into the River of Lollapalooza which flows into the Sea of Foreverneverless, in the land of Communityville, live two groups of beings: the Strangerlings and the Othernessess.

The Strangerlings and the Othernessess don’t like each other.  In fact, they can’t stand being around each other.  They don’t talk to each other, they don’t look at each other; they are just too different.  At the core of what divides them is the way they eat bananas.  The Strangerlings (read while throwing a banana to someone to eat in the manner described) peel a little of the banana at a time as they eat, while the Othernessess (and again) take out the whole banana, throw away the peel, and have at it.  The Strangerlings think the Othernessess way is completely detestable, and the Othernessess find the Strangerlings practice absolutely despicable.  Each group, because of this, doesn’t think the other group has any value at all.

The division is heartbreaking for The King of Everything.  You see, The King of Everything created Communityville, and The King of Everything created the Strangerlings and the Othernessess.  And their dislike for each other because of their banana eating preferences is painful for The King of Everything.  The Strangerlings and the Othernessess have never actually seen The King of Everything; face-to-face at least, but most of them, even though they forget sometimes, know The King of Everything reigns, and that The King of Everything wants what’s best for them.  They know this partly because the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation tell them so.  And, really, what worries The King of Everything is not so much how the Strangerlings and Othernessess eat bananas, but if they’re really loving each other like The King of Everything envisioned; if they’re really living like The King of Everything made them to live, especially those that could use a friend every now and then.

There is but one occasion; one time per year, for the last fifty years, where the Strangerlings and Othernessess dare to share the same space.  They come together not to talk, have fun, or get to know each other – but to compete in a relay race.  What they’ve always said is that the loser of the relay race has to eat a banana the other way: if the Strangerlings lose, they have to peel the whole banana and just eat it; and if the Othernessess lose, they have to peel a little of the banana at a time and eat it as they go.  The Strangerlings have won twenty-five times, and the Othernessess have won twenty-five times.  But still, even though every year they say they’ll do it, none of them has ever eaten a banana the opposite way.  Both groups have simply refused.  And each year, they dislike each other more and more, because neither group does what they say they’ll do – so they just get mad and call each other terrible names, like “banana-never-touchers,” or “too-early-peel-throw-awayers.”  There is a wall that divides them (remember, they are literally sitting on two sides of a wall made out of cardboard boxes).

Today, right now, happens to be that time of the year again: the Strangerlings and the Othernessess will once again enter the battlefield of relay race to see who will (even though they never do it anyway) eat the banana the opposite way.

At this point we did a demonstration of each element in the relay race: bean bag toss, saltine cracker eating, bowling with a baseball, word find puzzle (with the words, mount-pleasant-mobile-home-village-beautiful-wonderful), walking with an egg on a spoon, and lastly a puzzle to complete on their respective sides of the wall.  The thing is, when they “completed” their puzzle, they realized something……

The Strangerlings and the Othernessess began to discover that they don’t have all the pieces.  Both groups find themselves confused, not sure what to do.

And then, The King of Everything showed up on the scene.  Face-to-face, standing before them.  Interestingly, The King of Everything doesn’t really look all that special; The King of Everything just kind of….looks like them.  But The King of Everything, even if not exactly what they thought, has arrived. “This was never the way I wanted you to treat each other,” says The King of Everything, “I didn’t make Strangerlings and Othernessess, don’t you remember, I made Togetherlingnessess.”  Then The King of Everything went on to say, “Today is the day I’m going to start making everything new.  No longer will I allow the wall between you to cause division.  Tear it down and find the missing pieces inside.  You’ll need to become one big family to put the pieces together again.”

At this point, the kids knocked the wall over and searched for the missing pieces hidden in the wall.  They discovered that the only way to truly complete the puzzle was to be together.  Their respective unfinished puzzles and the missing pieces all came together for the finished product.  And in the end, the wall was gone, and there’s no longer any such thing as missing pieces. 

And so they did what The King of Everything told them to do.  What they found was a vision for something different – a new way of relating to one another.  The story that made them who they are, the very foundation of their being, took a drastic turn.  No longer is their existence characterized by division; the old things are fading away.  Whether female or male, rich or poor, nail biters or nose pickers, Madden 2010 or Madden 2011, bike riding or skate boarding, Harry Potter or Twilight, dark skin or light skin, Big Mac or Whopper, PS3 or XBOX 360, there’s no more cool table or not-cool table, even peel-leaving or non-peel-leaving banana eaters could be united, nothing could divide them now that The King of Everything came: they became Togetherlingnessess.  And even though they have a tendency to forget, and they still don’t always treat each other like they should, they’ve found that Communityville is at its best when they try to live and treat each other the way The King of Everything says they should.

At this point we paused and talked very briefly to recap C.R.E.A.T.E Community from the summer, and to talk about how this new story subverted the old and took a place of dominance and authority – and how it changed us from Strangerlings and Othernessess to Togetherlingnessess (content from the now finished puzzle).  Then we finished the story….

For now, they know The King of Everything came and changed everything, that The King of Everything reigns, that The King of Everything is coming again.  The Togetherlingnessess together hold in their minds, the past, present, and future all at the same time, knowing that where they’re story has been, where they’re story is, and where they’re story is going all matters a great deal to The King of Everything and to their life together. 

With all of this in mind, and out of gratitude for The King of Everything, all that’s left to do: is celebrate!

We got out some noise making party things and made a lot of noise and yelled and danced and pretended we’re being reunited and hugged and, you know, celebrated!  Then, amazingly (I’m serious) the pizza guy walked in right on cue and set our pizza down on a table.  Then we talked about how we can celebrate this way, and how having a meal together is another way to celebrate.  Then we ate, together, and in so doing continued our transformation into Togetherlingnessess.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gallery Show 2011

The Gallery Show this year was on September 1st, 2011. The night started in the Village, unveiling the finished sculpture. Then we traveled downtown to the Ward Theater to see all the other art on display. Click here to see the pictures from that night!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Glimpses of the sculpture

Here is a look at how the sculpture that Steve Prince created has been coming together as we've been painting it the past few weeks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gallery Show 2011! It's almost here!

The 3rd Annual Village Art Project Gallery Show!

Thursday, Sept. 1st, 6:30-8:30pm

We'll be meeting at the Mount Pleasant Mobile Home Village garden for the official unveiling of Steve Prince's completed sculpture "Good News," and then travelling to the Ward Theater in downtown Mount Pleasant at 7pm for the official Gallery event. Transportation will be provided from the MPMHV to the Ward for those who need it!

If you love art, love kids, need inspiration, need a good idea for a date, or are simply looking for a good reason to get out of the house, this event is for YOU!

This event is FREE and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be provided.

Come join us as we celebrate a summer full of creativity and community.  You won't leave the same!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Final Week: CREATE Community and Masks

We added one last art project to our schedule for the summer so that we could review what we had learned this summer about great communities, and to finish painting the masks that will be added to a sculpture designed by Steve Prince! To see the photos of the night, click HERE.