Last night Boom and I went to an Art180 Open Studio – an art show for the kids, showcasing what they had done that semester with the Art180 program. This particular Open Stuido was at a urban, hip-hop type store, showcasing tennis shoe design and stained glass. All the shoes and glass projects were great! I asked a little girl (well, perhaps 11 or 12) standing by the shoe display if she had designed a pair of shoes – and before she could answer, her mother said, “These! She designed these shoes!” and she (the mom) was so proud! I was expecting the kids to be proud of their finished products, but seeing how proud and excited the parents were was really unexpected and totally neat for me!
Unfortunately, since I was the only board member in attendance, I was called upon to say a few words, of welcome and otherwise. I had been tipped off that this might happen, and as a good hubby, Boom emailed me yesterday with some questions and suggested that I think a little bit about what I would say about ART180 should I ever find myself in the position to speak about it / on it’s behalf. Of course I didn’t spend nearly as much time thinking about that as I should have, and totally just spoke off the cuff – I don’t think I sounded like a total idiot, just a partial idiot.
When you boil it down, ART180 is important to me because it gives marginalized young people (middle aged) a creative outlet that they might never have experienced. This focus’ their energies on something positive, whereas the other alternative may be quite bad. It also gives them an opportunity to try something new, something that they never have tried before or even may have known exists. Who knows, perhaps this exposure will get them thinking about other things out there that they may have never considered, and maybe they will realize they have options. I know it teaches them something about themselves, and that right there may be reason enough to love ART180.
When I think about my middle school years, it’s not pretty. Not because I didn’t have enough food to eat, or that I was being pressured to do drugs or have sex, or that my parents didn’t get along, it wasn’t pretty because kids that age are mean. I think it is just hardwired into people that way. So I can’t imagine being a middle school aged kid without any sort of strong support system trying to navigate life – it nearly brings me to tears (because I was lucky and because it has to be so hard when you are not so lucky). My hope is that ART180 will help these kids realize they do have options and they can be someone, all using some sort of art form. I think it is just one of the coolest models – and I am really proud and excited to be involved.
Anyway, since the Open Studio was being hosted at this store, Boom and I thought we should buy something. As I gazed around, there wasn’t much in the way of ladies apparel. And Boom is not the most adventuresome dresses. But then I spied some Ed Hardy t-shirts. I have always liked his stuff and had just seem some shirts at Nordstroms- so we went to look at them. The sales associate asked us what size Boom wanted – Medium. But the shirts they carried started in a Large. Fine, we’ll take a large – but need to find out the price. He went off in the direction of the cash register – when he came back he said “I know why the price wasn’t on there – they are trying to hide it – they cost $92!” The look on Booms face was hilarious! We didn’t purchase the shirt, as $92 is a lot for a t-shirt Boom would likely never wear. It would have been momentous, however, to see Boom, a fairly conservative fellow wearing a t-shirt designed by a famous tattoo artist! Maybe someday…