Taking Comfort in the Community of Art Classes

Meet Leah Keel, a student in our Community Arts Classes who has sold work in the ArtMix Gallery. Leah stumbled upon ArtMix as she was exploring the Harrison Center for the Arts where ArtMix resides. As she recalls, “the smell of clay and the hallway filled with ceramics” was something she needed to be a part of.

When we asked Leah what makes ArtMix so special, she replied, “I am disabled. I love being able to come when I am not at my best and just relax and listen to the people around me. I know I can be me. I can be forgetful, or in pain, or just having a bad day and no one cares, or stares, or peppers me with questions. This no-judgment zone is healing for my soul.”

Spring is Blossoming in Community Class

Spring is a time of renewal. The grass is turning green, leaves are growing on trees, and flowers are beginning to bloom. Just as spring has begun so has the latest session of community arts classes. This session the students are focusing on nature and growth.

On Wednesday night our Community Arts Class students entered our visual arts studio where a large tree branch, coffee filters, gauze, cotton swabs and pink paint awaited them. Teaching Artist Bella Heilbrunn, apron on and paintbrush in hand, was ready to give students directions for this new project.

April First Friday: Poet’s Tree

POET'S TREE

Underneath the poet tree

Come and rest awhile with me,

And watch the way the word-web weaves

Between the shady story leaves.

The branches of the poet tree

Reach from the mountains to the sea.

So Come and dream, or come and climb—

Just don't get hit by falling rhymes.

-Shel Silverstein

April is National Poetry Month, and the ArtMix Gallery is taking inspiration from Shel Silverstein's poem "POET'S TREE," which is the name of our exhibit. With Spring in the air, this exhibit melds together poetry and nature. Our students have been inspired by the changing of the seasons and created a cherry blossom branch, which you can read more about here.

Finding Respite and Healing through Art

Meet Catherine Dixon (Cat), parent of Lucy who was born with a club foot on her left side. Lucy went through several rounds of serial casting and wore Ponseti braces for most of her first year. As Lucy grew, her tendons didn’t stretch along with her bones. As a result, her orthopedist recommended a surgical intervention – a procedure called Anterior Tibialis Tendon Transfer. So, at the tender age of four, Lucy was admitted into the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital where she met Bella Heilbrunn, an ArtMix Teaching Artist in The Lolly Project.

A Mother’s Story: How ArtMix Changed Her Sons’ Lives

Let me introduce you to Susan LeVay, a parent of two sons with autism. Susan first registered her boys, Jonathan and James, for ArtMix Community Arts Classes, and when they became teenagers, they became interns in the Urban Artisan program. In the beginning, they were challenged to learn many skills. When they completed the program, they had “gained confidence in themselves, pride in their work, better social skills, and a sense of accomplishment at earning a paycheck,” Susan recalls.

“Redefining Inspiration” March First Friday

March is Disability Awareness Month, and we are celebrating with our new exhibit "Redefining Inspiration." On Friday, March 3, join us at the ArtMix Gallery from 6-9 p.m. to see artwork from our students who are redefining disability.

 

The theme for 2017 Disability Awareness Month is "I'm Not Your Inspiration." People with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed or simply good neighbors are often given the title of inspiration by people who don't know them. This year's campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first - people who want to be fully included in their communities just like everyone else.

Disability Awareness Month

March is Disability Awareness Month, a time to celebrate inclusion, learn about respecting people with disabilities, and reflect on real and perceived abilities and disabilities. The Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities is helping us celebrate by providing helpful information and tools. We're pleased that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Danville City Council have issued proclamations recognizing Disability Awareness Month.

 

The theme for the 2017 Disability Awareness Month is "I'm Not Your Inspiration." People with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed or simply good neighbors are often called inspirational by people who do not fully know them. This campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first — people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.

Reclaiming Clay

This week in the studio, our Urban Artisans have been going through the process of reclaiming clay. That is the proper term for recycling clay that is unworkable.

Bucket full of saturated clay

Clay is a tricky material to work with. If it is too dry it will crack and crumble, but if it has too much moisture it will be too sticky to mold. That means it has to be just right.

 

We use clay on a daily basis here at ArtMix. It starts out with the right amount of moisture, but our hands and the air in the room slowly dry it out. Reclaiming the clay begins when the clay becomes unworkable.

Meet the Bledsoes!

Betty Bledsoe is a single mother who has been fostering and adopting children since 1985. In 2002 she and her children joined the ArtMix family, and more than 50 Bledsoe children have come through our doors. Betty and her 13 children join ArtMix every Tuesday night for Community Arts Class.
"I have seen my children grow mentally, emotionally, socially, psychologically, and physically since they began ArtMix classes!" - Betty Bledsoe
bledsoes

The Bledsoe's holding garden stones they created at ArtMix.

Our Community Arts Classes provide an opportunity for the Bledsoes to express themselves. Betty's children find joy and take pride in the artwork they create. They have created group projects like the garden stones in the photo. They make gifts for each other, and some of them sell their work in the ArtMix Gallery. Betty has seen the impact ArtMix has had on her children. They have gained independence and confidence in their abilities. Many have learned to use art as a healthy outlet of expression. Betty recalled the difference art made in the life of her daughter, who began to use drawing rather than violence as an outlet when she felt upset. ArtMix is more than arts classes for the Bledsoes. Betty and her children have found a supportive community here. Betty said, "Truly, the people here are like family." We are able to provide a safe and joyful community for the Bledsoes (and so many others) because of the funding we receive. Please consider making a donation to help support all of our year-round programming. To learn more about the impact a donation can make please watch our new video below.
 

Meet Meghan

Meghan is a student at Franklin Central High School and an intern artist in the Urban Artisans program. Meghan has been involved in ArtMix since preschool when she visited the studios on school field trips. 1_-meghan-and-linda When Meghan entered high school, her parents requested that she be a part of the Urban Artisans internship program to help with the transition from school to the workplace. Meghan's father, Wayne said, "Our goal for Meghan was not to have some mediocre job. We thought that her being creative and being able to use those talents would be really good for her independence." Meghan has participated in the school-year and summer Urban Artisans program since 2013. Since joining the program, Meghan has developed many artistic and personal skills. She has made friends and taken on a leadership role with her peers, often helping new students. Meghan's mother, Lisa said, " We knew we always wanted a place for her to feel a part of and to belong, and ArtMix has been that for her and for us. We love the community here!"22681837578_f0d9cff184_o-1 On November 17, 2015 Meghan represented ArtMix and her peers at The White House to accept the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Her parents were so proud of her and all that she had accomplished. Meghan has continued to grow and discover her talents here at ArtMix. Hear more about Meghan and the impact of our programs in our new video below.