Taking the show on the road . . .

As the freezing rain turned to just plain rain this morning,  I rented a U-Haul van and went down to Carroll Square to take down the Tracy’s Kids show. Over the next few days, I will take the display boards apart and return the work to the young artists who created it. The show was such a great accomplishment, it was hard to see it close.

Our art show loaded into the van, ready to be safely returned to the kids!

Our art show loaded into the van, ready to be safely returned to the kids! But be on the lookout–you’ll see George and friends again.

But this year there’s an exciting twist. The Big Heads that were in the show will be featured at the Tracy’s Kids Red Carpet fundraiser on February 13–and our music video to the song “Keep Your Head Up” will make its official world premiere! Make your plans now to attend our Washington-style Red Carpet event–and check back here for the link to the video on February 14!

Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square Update

The Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square show is looking really good. As promised, here are some pictures from the reception. They were taken with Tracy’s phone camera, so they’re not the best quality, but we hope you’ll enjoy them!

Lots going on!

There’s a lot going on at Tracy’s Kids this week. Our show at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F St., NW goes up on Tuesday and opens with a reception from 4:00-6:00 on Friday afternoon. We will have artwork by kids from all five Tracy’s Kids programs, including our newest one at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

 We’ll have paintings, drawings, and sculptures by kids of all ages and young adults—including a poet who plans to perform a short reading at the reception. We’ll put up lots of pictures after the show goes up, so check back in a day or two.

 

One piece that we’re really excited about is the premiere of our music video. Inspired by artist Wayne White, who created a Big Head of LBJ and other cardboard puppets, the kids in our Summer Art Workshops made any kind of “Big Head” they wanted to, and danced wearing their heads to Andy Grammer’s song “Keep your Head Up.” It’s fun and whimsical and inspiring. We hope our local friends will come see it all at the gallery, and in a few days we’ll post the video online for everyone to enjoy, so stay tuned!

Transformation: Lemons into lemonade

I was thinking today about what our programs teach the kids. People don’t come to the hospital expecting to make art, and at most hospitals art is not part of the process. But healing and creativity have a lot in common. They are both about transformation—making lemons into lemonade.

We start by meeting kids and families where they are, literally. We are part of the hospital staff. We know the routine, who’s who, and how to find your way around. We are there to help them find a way to just “be” in the treatment space. We invite them to let their imaginations, their stories, their interests and personalities help them through. And what they learn, I hope, is to trust their imaginations.

This summer at Lombardi we’ve been working on a group project that involves making “Big Heads” out of cardboard boxes. They’re part of a bigger project, which I’ll tell you more about in a later blog entry. But what is cool about the process so far is that kids can look at a cardboard box and see cheetahs, birds, monkeys, people, characters—and with  duct tape and tempera paint we work together to make them come alive. Spending an afternoon transforming a box into a graceful, beautiful, funky piece of art gives a kid a real feeling of accomplishment.

When I was in fourth grade we had an assignment to create a 3-D moth or butterfly out of paper. We were given two large sheets of white paper and told to draw our chosen butterfly as big as possible. We cut out the shape, traced it onto another piece of paper, and colored both pieces to show the markings of the butterfly. We then stuffed them with crushed paper and cotton balls and stapled around the edges. I made a luna moth, which was beautiful with its pale green wings, brown body, fuzzy antennae and graceful shape. It felt like a huge accomplishment when I was done. To me, it looked like a real, giant luna moth. The teacher hung all the butterflies around the classroom for a while, and they looked great. That was over forty years ago, and I still remember both the beauty of the object and how great I felt about making it.

I hope that many of the kids we work with will look back and remember the wonderful things they made, the solutions they figured out, and the feeling of accomplishment that came from the work. It’s a surprise—you never know what you can do until you try.