Guest: Kennedy, 1st Year Human Service Diploma
“I just made the best art project of my life.” – Kennedy
Student Scale: 5/5
So here we are once again. A chilly Thursday night in Kamloops (this particular night sadly contained snow) a student volunteer by my side and the promise of a new adventure! In terms of the “do it yourself” aspect, I really wasn’t confident that I’d actually be doing anything. The last time I attempted a Pinterest craft there were tears. Luckily, I had Kennedy with me. A bona fide artsy human being. Before we entered, they were already inquiring about what materials would be available and the type of project we’d be completing. While new to Kamloops this year, Kennedy has already begun making connections with the artist community here. Ultimately their interest that night was in furthering that connection in what little free time was available. My goal was to avoid a repeat of my failed Pinterest attempts and try to give Kennedy a positive experience at KAG.
When we entered the studio it was a new experience for both of us. Previously, I had come into a nearly blank room, waiting to be filled with people and voices. This time the studio was already teeming with both of these. Tables were covered in drinks and bodies were moving freely whilst interacting with one another. We had walked in on Art History Happy Hour. An event full of learning and maybe a little bit of drinking! For me it was an entirely new environment to come upon as I had become accustomed to the slow build that typically accompanies these events. Still, it was a fantastic energy! The creativity and openness seemed almost tangible enough for us to grab on and take hold of it.
We waited patiently for things to die down and the DIY to begin. The best surprise was seeing a familiar face. Our very own Emily was leading the charge with drink in hand. With great conviction she led us down the rabbit hole into the world of “lino cuts”. Kennedy became very excited upon discovering that this was what we’d be up to tonight. I was glad that at least one of us was up to the challenge. So armed with my pink plastic rectangle, and Kennedy with their wood we began our artistic process! Granted, much of our “process” involved gossip and jokes but I believe it was all for the art.
In the end we produced a top notch tooth and a surprisingly decent leaf to pattern on to our papers. My little leaf might not be long for this world but I suspect Kennedy will hold on to that tooth for future use!
From Emily: “I think folks come here with the expectation of learning something that they’ve never done before. That’s a great attitude to show up with. One of the hardest things with art is that sense of nervousness, or ego. ‘Can I make something that’s really perfect and beautiful, this idea that I have in my mind of what I want that to be.’ I mean that’s a lot of pressure. Professional artists can’t make that happen half of the time! So when you come to one of these with that open mind of: ‘maybe it’s going to work, maybe it’s not going to work’ that works out really well.”
Recommendations: We loved DIY night. Even I, with no artistic abilities whatsoever had a great time. Instructions were easy to follow, and the atmosphere was very open with no agenda. You could easily attend and do the prescribed project, or sit, doodle and listen. Kennedy and I spent most of the night chipping away at our creations and chatting. So how exactly do you improve such a peaceful and accessible program? My first instinct of course is to say DO IT MORE. Sadly, the next DIY event doesn’t take place until May. In a perfect world filled with free money for non-profits I’d say do it every week, but of course that is not our world. My next best idea: promotion.
While social media definitely helps, for a program as tactile as this, why not feature the produced works? Much like the community wall that showcases local or smaller artists, why not designate a wall for work created right there in the studio? While I’m sure some will take their prints home and cherish them forever, many of us lack space to display small projects like these. So why not offer up the chance for people to place their work in a visible space? This way not only to participants get to show off, but potential newcomers get to see what really happens. Instead of this abstract idea of creating “something”, have something physical to point to and say “someone made that!”