Artist in Residence

20140518_102329I have wonderful news to share, thanks to a perfect storm of random conversations and perfectly timed interactions, over which I had absolutely no control nor any idea this would be the result.

Honestly, a forwarded email led to a friendship that fueled some freelance work, that encouraged some movement beyond my comfort zone, that led to a conversation on Facebook, that got my name in front of the right person at the right time, resulting in my being asked to serve as this year’s Artist in Residence for the Oldham County Schools Arts Center.

Until now, this blog/site has been the only place where all my skills and passion could work together toward the same purpose. Not long ago, I jokingly claimed the title “renaissance woman,” recognizing that my passions and pursuits touched on far too many areas for me to expect to find them all in one career. So, I let my talents take turns and worked as a presenter and a professional organizer, an educator and an event planner, and an evangelist for upcycling and recycling – but never all at the same time. Until now.

Over the next 6 to 12 months, I will partner with art teachers at all the schools in Oldham County, Kentucky – 9 elementary, 4 middle, and 3 high – and teach the art of upcycling. What I offer will look different at each school, as projects are tailored to each set of students. The one thing that will be consistent is my message: upcycling is more than a concept, it’s a culture.

Learning to make do with what’s on hand – using what you have, instead of buying what you want – can cultivate a sense of contentment that many North Americans lack. Learning to see the potential in things can train you to look for the potential in everything – situations, relationships, individuals -things you might otherwise toss aside, thinking it’s easier to replace them than to work with or through them. Perhaps most important, learning to make something of whatever you’ve been given is the best preparation you can have for this all too unpredictable thing we call life.

Oh, and upcycling is fun! There is no limit to the creativity you can bring to a project. Likewise, no special skills or talents are required to be an upcycler – just the ability to look beyond what something is and see what something could be.

In addition to visiting all the schools, my work as the Artist in Residence will serve the community through things like workshops, events, or other programming offered through the Oldham County Arts Center. I’m dreaming big and looking for ways this experience can have a lasting impact on the places and people I encounter. I’m planting the seeds for a creative reuse center (which, at this point, I could stock simply with what I brought home from last month’s Zero Landfill!). I also hope to introduce the fabulous programs Terracycle supports and raise awareness about the multiple benefits of upcycling – making people better stewards of what they have, making ever-shrinking budgets stretch farther, all while making a much needed dent in the amount of materials we send to landfills ever year.

See what I mean? It’s the opportunity I never knew I always wanted!

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