Tag: Artist Residency

We are moving, again!

Boulevards Neighborhood Public Art Identity Marker
Design by BZTAT

I really do not enjoy moving. It is quite a chore at any age, but at this point in my life, it really takes a toll on my knees and back. Nonetheless, it is necessary, so I am looking at it as a new adventure.

Last year in March, I moved to my present home amid much fanfare. I had been awarded an Artist Residency to do public art as a means of redeveloping one of Canton’s older neighborhoods. The goal was to have me reside in a designated neighborhood and engage other residents in creative public art. There was great anticipation and support for the project, and there was hope that it would become an ongoing activity.

Things started to go astray, however, early on. I have not shared much about it publicly, as I did not want to air struggles, but it turned into quite a trying year.

First of all, the house that I rented had multiple issues that prevented me from using it as was intended as a place to invite neighbors to engage in creative activities. I won’t share the details. Just suffice to say, I was unable to resolve the issues, yet had few choices but to remain in the place.

Second, the hopes for ongoing funding of the residency did not come to fruition, and the project was given a definite time limit – 1 year. (There was no guarantee that it would go past a year in the first place, but there were hopeful expectations offered.)

All of this was personally challenging. We were successful, however, in engaging a few residents in an art project where we created artsy little houses as neighborhood identity markers. The project was marred somewhat by vandalism, yet, repairs are in process to make the houses more sturdy in the future.

I made some wonderful friendships in the process, and despite the challenges, that made the whole thing worthwhile. But the residency is finished now, and it is time for me and the cats to move to a more accommodating home.

I have found a house near Alliance, OH that I believe will be a better fit for us. It truly is an artist’s dream house with lots of creative space in a rustic setting. It is in a neighborhood outside of the city, although it is close to a shopping area, so it sort of has the best of two worlds. There are many windows and lots of places to climb, so I believe the cats will absolutely love it!

We will be moving in the next few weeks so there’s lots of work to do. Stay tuned as we endeavor into this new adventure!

Tomato Worms and Other Crazy Stuff in the Life of an Artist

Tomato Worm
GODZILLA in the Garden

I am not a veteran gardener.  I am sort of a half-hearted one, to be truthful.  I have had lots of support from friends and from the great folks from Stark Fresh, however, so I took on a new adventure this year, seeing as though I have a yard for the first time in a long time.

I had no idea of all the different things you have to worry about when gardening. And I certainly had no idea that GODZILLA would show up in my small little group of container gardens!

I had a little bit of fun, posting about this critter, now identified as a Tomato Hornworm, on my Facebook page. I got lots of comments. Some folks admired the 4″ long creature, but most, like me, considered him a monster.

Lets face it. He devoured the better part of my pepper plant in less than 2 hours. And to beat all, he just left parts of peppers hanging, as if going through someone else’s box of chocolates and leaving a bunch half eaten.

pepper remnants tomato worm

He was too big to smush, so, on the advise of some of my more genteel Facebook friends, I relocated him to the abandoned house across the street. Good riddance GODZILLA.

One less genteel friend suggested that I tear him in two. Ugh! I did not want to touch the thing, nor did I want to take the chance that it would haunt me in another life.

Others jokingly suggested that I move. And that brings me to what this post is REALLY about.

It is not because of GODZILLA in the Garden. But I do have to move. AGAIN.

If you follow me in social media, or if you follow this blog, you know that I moved to my present home in March of this year because of a great opportunity offered to me in an Artist Residency. It remains a great opportunity. But my home, it turns out, was not the best house to move into.

I won’t say much, as there may be legalities involved. It is, however a matter of public record that my home has been deemed unsafe for human occupation due to lead hazards by the Canton City Health Department. I therefore, must move.

I am currently in an urgent search for a new home within the boundaries of the neighborhood designated for my Artist Residency. It is not an easy search, as there are few rentals in the boundaries. That is part of what makes it an attractive neighborhood for development, ironically.

I have not wanted to post about this. I wanted to wait until the situation was resolved. It is just taking longer than I would have liked.

And I am not good with accepting things that stay unresolved for an inordinate amount of time.

This situation has affected me deeply, and is part of why I have not posted much on this blog of late. It is really hard to keep a positive face to the world when things are crumbling in the most basic arena of your life – your home.

And if I can’t be positive, I don’t want to write.

There will be much to write about this later when I can look back on it and say it was just another one of my adventures. I look forward to that day.  In the meantime, I am going to try harder to find the humor in the struggle, as I was able to do today with my GODZILLA in the Garden.

Wherever I move to, though, GODZILLA in the Garden is NOT welcome to follow.

Stay tuned…

The Boulevards: Artist Residency Update

Canton Boulevards Neighborhood Public Art

Around the county, a number of disasters have socked Americans in the gut in recent weeks. Whether it was the mighty force of nature hitting Oklahoma with violent tornadoes, the negligence of forethought with a fertilizer plant exploding and leveling the small town of West, TX, or the terror of extremists bombing the Boston Marathon, our collective expressions of horror have been uttered all too often of late.

We could call it the “Spring of Aghast”.

Although it in no way approaches the horrific nature of the aforementioned disasters, a small taste of the “Spring of Aghast” has touched my own community of The Boulevards where I am engaged as an Artist in Residence.

Canton Boulevards Neighborhood Public Art Vandalism

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, we discovered that last year’s Boulevards’ art project had been vandalized at the hands of someone who apparently attempted to steal the very well anchored pieces.

Unable to simply pull them out, the thief broke 2 of the painted houses and knocked over others as they attempted to pull out the deep posts anchoring them. One of the broken houses was taken, but the others were still in place.

Like Moore, OK, West, TX, and Boston, MA, The Boulevards is a quality community that is full of good people. It is a safe neighborhood that is characterized by people who take pride in their homes and community.

It is not at all defined by this unfortunate act perpetrated by a goofball. In fact, we suspect that this was done by someone outside of the area.

Our motto is truthful: “The Boulevards: A Community of Creative People Who Care About Their Community”.

When disaster strikes, or when fools destroy the creative works of proud people, the first human response is emotional pain. It hurts and we can’t escape from the reality that our world has been assaulted.

After adjusting to the new realities of vulnerability and destruction, however, the next human response is to get creating and building, fixing what was broken and renewing our human commitment to creativity.

Not only do we fix-up what was broken, we make it better, and we allow our pride to drive us to doing more creative works that perhaps we would not have been previously inspired to do.

So to the goofball thief hoarding a broken green house in his or her home, I hope you are enjoying it. You won’t be able to share it with others, as everyone knows where it came from, and it has been reported to the police as stolen property.

Your little stunt has emboldened Boulevards residents to become more involved instead of scaring them into resignation.

We won’t waste our time trying to find you, as we have better things to do. Try it again, though, and you will be caught, as extra security will accompany future projects.

And there will be future projects – lots of them! I have been meeting with residents and we are making big plans for this year’s project. Stay tuned – designs and plans will be announced soon!

Follow activities in The Boulevards at our new blog and website!