Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Deborah DeLisi and One Minute Mandalas at SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk

Deborah DeLisi presented her One-Minute Mandalas in the SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk participation booth on Sat/Sun, April 26/27 from 11am – 6 pm on India at Cedar. The weather was a challenge but the crowds were huge, friendly and happy.  We are very grateful to Deborah and all the volunteers that helped her. Contact Deborah for more information on these workshops. Below you can read her report on the event in her own words, followed by an appreciation from Sandi Cottrell who is the managing director of the Art Walk organization.

Deborah DeLisi:
I estimate that during Mission Federal ArtWalk we inspired about 800-900 artists who stopped by the SDVAN booth to create a unique mandala. We were paid in priceless smiles, and I know at least one little girl who is going to decorate her bedroom with the mandalas she made. She is Taylor, the daughter of Angie from Mission Federal, who was on two local morning TV shows with me last week. Taylor made about 5-6 mandalas and so did her brother Cody. They were my best 'customers' and a delight.

During ArtWalk, I recognized some kids who came by BOTH days, and that was nice to see that they enjoyed it so much they wanted to do it again. What I love about this project is that EVERYONE SUCCEEDS at it. There are no mistakes, and everyone is amazed at what they can create, and the simplicity of the process. Seeing the reaction of the attendees as they unfolded their paper and watched their art develop was something of which I never tired.  

One attendee was a grandpa who was looking for something to do when he watches his grandkids. He loved making his mandala, and can't wait to do it with his family. I had at least a dozen art teachers, school teachers and art enthusiasts who volunteered for after-school enrichment programs for kids. I spent a bit more time with them, going over the steps, telling them where to buy the stencils and bling, and why this is a great activity for kids. One teacher was so excited after making her mandala that she is going to have her class make them for Mother's Day gifts. One young girl is going to make the folded-paper mandalas with her friends at her birthday party. How fun! My booth helpers all said they had so much fun too. 

I want to THANK each of my volunteers so very, very much for giving up their time, energy, and coming to Little Italy, to pitch in for non-stop art activities with kids of all ages. There were fewer breaks than I had hoped for, and any lunch breaks we had were later than I wanted them and shorter too. But my amazing volunteers rolled with it, and gave 1000% and I appreciate it so much. I'd like to personally thank: Destiny, Vicki, Olaf, Hector, Steve, Dani (Danielle), and Carmen. They were AMAZING, ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. 

Sandi, thank you for responding to all my texts and calls when I needed things at the booth. My calls for help came fast and it was much appreciated and made things flow smoothly. I'd like Angie at Mission Federal to know that the sponsorship of ArtWalk created so much joy for others. I hope ALL the artists did well. I didn't get to walk around but what little I saw was inspiring. 

Patricia, thank you for approaching me last year with the idea to lead this activity at the SDVAN booth this year. I had a blast. It reminded me how much I enjoy working with kids. I was 11 years old when I started a business I called "Art School". I wrote advertisements on pieces of paper and placed them in the mailboxes of parents on my street that had young kids. I didn't like babysitting, but I liked doing things with kids (it was more fun.) I charged $1 an hour per child, and I supplied all the materials. We sat around a picnic table in my basement and made things with popsicle sticks, paper plates, and other kid-friendly materials. Until this weekend, I forgot how much fun I had with "Art School".
Thank you for giving me the opportunity for such fun and joy during ArtWalk. 

PS- there were plenty of leftover materials for many, many Art Reach projects. 

Sandi Cottrell, Managing Director, ArtWalk San Diego to Deb DeLisi

The weekend got off to such a rocky start.  Having said that…your area was AMAZING!  I saw so many happy people walking away with their artwork, and you had it beautifully organized. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making this happen. From the beginning you were so organized and professional, I can’t imagine a better project or more lovely person to lead the project.  I greatly appreciate the countless hours you spent on this. 

Deb DeLisi

Sand Mandalas

Deb DeLisi photo by Rosemary KimBal

Monday, April 21, 2014

DNA of Creativity Introduction to the OMA exhibition

The DNA of Creativity was initiated in 2011 to put together teams of artists and scientists. We had very high goals. We hoped to make the complexities of art and science accessible while showcasing the aesthetics of both. We intended to enhance the viewing public’s perception of creativity and its role in our lives as thriving, positive, empowered and fun. We wanted to re-enforce the idea of San Diego as an Art and Science destination. Invigorating students of all ages to support the arts and sciences either as participants or beneficiaries was essential.

We had a stellar selection committee who chose the four grant recipients: Harvey Seifter - Art of Science Learning Director producing the nationwide Innovation Incubator. Ron Newby - Bronowski Art and Science Forum and Ruth West Research Associate, UCSD Research in Computing and the Arts and now Associate Professor and Director, xREZ lab at University of North Texas.

When you take on projects that take over three years to produce, you know you have to have a passion for the subject. My first reason for calling together teams, with both artists and scientists, was very simple and quite selfish. I am an artist and my husband Darwin Slindee is a physicist. I wanted to make sure we could spend time together. But my passion turned into my privilege. I have learned so much from the more than 50 participants that crossed the finish line and are showing, have shown and will continue to show the results of their investigations.

The Pezzoli family lost their daughter Alyssa  last year in a terrible surfing tragedy.  Her mother Marjorie who is part of the Sea Changes: Act team said, “It really hit me tonight why jellyfish will always be important to me...I was thinking about Alyssa, tears streaming down my face, I looked up at the lights, the distortion caused the sight of a jellyfish. They are an indicator of climate change and plastic pollution. The ocean and the beaches have always been playground of Alyssa's, that's why I want to protect them for all generations.”

This strong belief in the value of being connected is a theme that runs through all the teams. Jason Rogalsk, leader of the Urban Succession team, realized that his project to shine a light on urban wildlife by providing artist made homes for them was not just about the wild creatures living amongst us, it  was about ecosystems.  David Lipson thought that debris from gutters was probably toxic waste, but found that within Jeremy Gercke’s inventive Soil Blind sculpture it is a rich source of life.

Both projects go further than just using art to make people care or to illustrate scientific facts. They worked on the Inner-connectivity of art and science. As a result artists increasingly became more scientific, while the scientists embraced art.  This is nowhere more clear than in the PolyAethestic Mapping: The Muses.  The DNA of Creativity changed lives. Kaz Maslanka through hours and hours of team work discovered the muses which made his very abstract process of exploration of complex concept more accessible. He says, “ It was as if all I had done was throw a bucket of paint into the air and the muses just appeared.” Vicki Leon has embraced the muses which came out of the polyaesthetic system. She says that their influence has expanded her areas of focus and allowed her to call upon their creative inspiration to explore new territory.

Yes, there are challenges of managing large teams. Meetings over time helped members to gain respect for each other and eventually become friends. Groups had to be flexible in order to  expand their ideas, Everyone learned new facts like how photographer’s strobe lights hurt live coral  and ultimately how to make what was examined safe from direct human contact. Michelle Kurtis Cole’s experiments using glass instead of other coral as a substrate to regenerate coral could change the way the ocean is being helped to help itself.

Working together as a team with personal passion for the subject and some financial support had advantages.   These included greater production rates, opportunities to work on a larger scale, gaining new audience and learning and using new techniques. Team members could learn as they go and were fearless once they trusted that they could make mistakes and still move forward.   Jeremy Gerecke said he found, “…an artistic direction that incorporates more that pure aesthetics.  Work that can have a life after being on display, it can be studied and have a life of its own.” 

In many cultures that we admire, art and culture are woven into the everyday fabric of life. This manages to happen without the art losing it status, power or affect. We are grateful to the Oceanside Museum of Art and our curator Danielle Susalla Deery and the Museum of Monterey for acknowledging this merging of art and science on a scale equal to the efforts of our DNA of Creativity team members.