This is a story in three parts. It is rather long winded so at the risk of spoiling the build up of tension I will summarize it first in case you don’t want the blow by blow version. I had an idea for an art party, people came and it was fabulous and I would recommend you try it. If you want to know more, read on…
Part 1: Just press send
Sometimes I sit on ideas for a long time. Over this time one of a few things happens.
a) I go off the idea and wonder why I thought it good in the first place
b) I realise I still like the idea but I keep sitting on it and I am left wondering what would have happened.
c) I decide to just do it and find out.
This is a story about a decision to try option C. So I sent this e-mail…
I have had this idea for a while and I would love you and your family to be part of it.
The concept is this…
- Take one local landmark- in this case a rounded, trig point topped mountain called Mount Painter
- Get together a group of friends, friends of friends and interested others and inspire each other to step outside of our comfort zones (or at least further towards the edge of it) and agree to be part of it. That is you.
- Go on a brainstorming walk up the mountain to bounce and share ideas and form a more definite plan. People pledge to do a piece of art in any form, as a group or individually. The art is to be inspired by the mountain and can take any genre (don’t be scared!) At the brainstorming walk questions are raised and worked through, including exactly when to have the party. You don’t have to come to the brainstorming to be part of the art party.
- About a month later, an art party is held where everyone meets on the mountain, brings their efforts together and we celebrate ‘Art by Anyone’, friends, a gorgeous place and have some food and drink together! Of course the weather is still and sunny, there is music, drama, installation art, photography, interactive art, art for and by children, and some work in progress for people to contribute to. The food is inspired by the mountain. It is a roaring success and everyone feels fabulous and proud and connected and warm and fuzzy and maybe I should stop writing about now.
It is free, it is random, it is just in time for Spring. I would love you to be part of it.
I picked a time, place to meet and date for the brainstorming walk and pressed send.
Actually I didn’t just press send. I wavered and oscillated a bit between option A and C (maybe it was a rubbish idea after all), left the email in drafts, realised I was just feeling a bit vulnerable sending my idea out into the world, rang a friend for moral support and then, finally, i just pressed send.
Part 2- Storming the mountain.
Not one person replied with ‘what ridiculous idea’ instead the responses used words like ‘unusual’ and ‘interesting’ and ‘exciting’. But even better, people turned up for the brainstorming walk. We gathered at the base to walk up the mountain together and before we left I felt moved to welcome everyone and make a little speech, which is rare for me.
It was one of the first days of spring and it was beautiful the sun was shining, the day was still and warm. That is, until we headed up the mountain. Suddenly it was windy and cold and I was reminded that it was actually only very early spring. At the top the wind continued to pick up. We bravely sat in groups trying to hear each other despite the wind and filled in brainstorming sheets while clutching them tightly. Quietly (adults) and loudly (children) we were getting cold. Brainstorming ideas focused around flags, kites, and even a ‘hill hoist’ clothesline installation.
I was really happy that people came, it was a nice walk and a vote of confidence, I was aware that if this had been the art party day people would not have stayed long and the art work would be at risk of blowing off and becoming litter. I wondered whether the mountain was actually a very good venue for the art party, but as Julius Caesar said Alea iacta est, the die has been cast.
Part 3: The main event
I wanted to be able to attend the event as a participant and not an organizer or host. I was determined to spend my art party time on creating works for the day and not over planning it. Because of the lack of planning, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know who was coming, what they were bringing and how it would come together. The night before I rang a few people to make sure we had a quorum.
On the day Susie arrived early to help me set up. She thanked me for giving her the incentive to paint. She thought she would whip something up but two hours later she was still painting and in the flow and it would not have existed without the art party.
When I got to the top of the mountain, Rose was there with a mosaic.
She had wanted to try mosaic for years. She finally did it and it was wonderful and she loved it and I loved it and if no one else had turned out and no other artwork had appeared then the art party was already a complete success. But it got even better.
When I sent out the initial invitation i described the party like this…
About a month later, an art party is held where everyone meets on the mountain, brings their efforts together and we celebrate ‘Art by Anyone’, friends, a gorgeous place and have some food and drink together! Of course the weather is still and sunny (didn’t quite nail that one) , there is music…
drama, installation art
interactive art, art for and by children,
and some work in progress for people to contribute to.
The food is inspired by the mountain.
And there was poetry and painting and kites to add to the mix.
It is a roaring success and everyone feels fabulous and proud and connected and warm and fuzzy- Well I can’t speak for anyone else but I had fun!
It was an event that was truly owned by the ‘artists called anyone’, It didn’t need me and I spent time walking down the mountain to see what was installed after I had walked up.
Other than the sun and drama we nailed the vision for me. Thank you to everyone who contributed with a particularly big thank you to an artist and life coach called Janet which out whom I would never have pressed send.
Sophie (a happy artist called anyone)