Art is Our Voice

Art is Our Voice
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. -Pablo Picasso

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lebensk眉nstler

 “Lebensk眉nstler” is a German word that connotes a person who approaches life with the zest and inspiration of an artist, although he or she may not be working recognizably as an artist.  I feel I've encountered "Lebensk眉nstler" individuals quite often in various art programs I've offered over the years, especially at McAuley House. 

Thanks to all the guests for sharing your work on our blog 馃挋

  Art in the Afternoon ☕

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I always have such a great time creating with the guests that attend the afternoon activity program. Some of the guests haven't had the opportunity to get creative in a long time, while some have been creating or crafting for years. 


 The collage below was designed by a young man that  hadn't made art since he was a child. However, he was exceptionally artistic in many other ways. So, when he started making this collage from scraps that I had sitting in a box he was focused on not only designing but recycling the pieces that had dropped on the floor. He was so precise with the placement of his materials.


Our artists are working hard getting ready for the upcoming art show in June.

Save the date-  June 22, 2017,  McAuley House Art Show, Thursday, 5-7:30 pm







Sometimes you just find the perfect frame for you art. Thanks Russell !!




David was asked by his favorite Bike Shop to color in a bike map to display in the shop.

Gwendolyn Brooks





Remembering The Great Poet Gwendolyn Brooks At 100

In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Hers was a Pulitzer in poetry, specifically for a volume titled Annie Allen that chronicled the life of an ordinary black girl growing up in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's famous South Side.

Brooks was in her living room when she learned she had won, she recalled in a Library of Congress interview, and it was growing dark. She didn't turn on the lights, because she knew what would happen. Money was tight, and the bill hadn't been paid.

She also knew that her Pulitzer made her something of a unicorn, and began to worry about what was going to happen when word got out.

"The next day, reporters came, photographers came," she recalled. "And I was absolutely petrified. I wasn't going to say anything about the electricity. But I knew when they went to plug in their cameras and all, nothing was going to happen."

The photographers came. They plugged in their lights. The living room was sufficiently illuminated. Someone — "I never did find out who" — had quietly paid the bill. The universe had made sure that Gwendolyn Brooks, so generous to others, was taken care of. In a way, it was life imitating art imitating life: she mostly wrote about everyday people with everyday problems, in language that varied from the classic to the colloquial.

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was born on June 7, 1917, in Topeka, Kan., but she moved to Chicago with her parents, Keziah and David, when she was 5 weeks old. The Brooks family joined thousands of black families that were streaming into the city's South Side, part of the Great Migration that would transform many large American cities north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Segregation confined the new arrivals to the South Side, where they created parallel institutions to the white ones that excluded them. Young Gwen came from a family of readers and book lovers, and announced early on that she intended to become a poet.

Her mother encouraged her, and helped Gwen send her poems to magazines and to the Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper whose anti-lynching editorials were known in black communities throughout the country.

In the 1930s, she received encouragement from the great James Weldon Johnson, and from Harlem Renaissance icons Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. Poet and biographer Angela Jackson says Brooks was published regularly in the Defender for several years, but the Pulitzer gave her a whole new kind of fame.

 "The fact that she was the first African-American to be awarded the Pulitzer made her notoriety go through the roof," Jackson said.

"Kindness was her religion"

The award, and the financial reward that accompanies it, came at a time when Brooks and her husband, Henry Blakely, had a young son, Hank. Soon after, baby sister Nora arrived. Mothering took up a fair amount of time, but when the children were a bit older, Brooks continued giving readings, and she also began to teach. Nora Brooks Blakely remembers when her mother taught at three colleges concurrently: "That Christmas, suddenly the Christmas presents changed ... she just had a happy little fit, where she only got presents from Marshall Field's and C.D. Peacock."

Brooks loved being able to do nice things for other people, even though she did not live a lavish lifestyle herself. "It was more important to help a writer than to have the latest Nike or pair of shoes or Gucci bag or whatever, so that's what she spent her money on," Blakely says. The prize money funded poetry prizes Brooks created to encourage aspiring poets — especially children. It also took the pressure off people who were trying to write. "There were people she gave rent to, gave car payments to," Blakely remembers. "She gave chunks of money and just said, 'I think this will help.' "

"Kindness was her religion," says Haki Madhubuti, director of Third World Press, in Chicago.

Madhubuti met Brooks in the early '60s, when he was a young veteran writing poetry in Chicago. He'd read her in anthologies while he was in the service. "Like so many young poets at the time, I was in awe of her, her craft and her commitment to the black community." In his early career, Madhubuti was published under his birth name, Don L. Lee. But as a key member of the Black Arts movement — a contingent of artists, playwrights, poets and writers whose work reflected the cultural side of the growing Black Power movement — he chose a name that reflected his African heritage. He and Brooks grew as close as family — she often referred to him as her "other son." She would later say he drew her into this new cultural circle and she felt reborn. Her poetry became more urgent, more pointed.

She, in turn, was celebrated by what she fondly called "the riotous young people" who gathered at her home for long, often passionate discussions about black life, politics and culture. Black cultural celebrities of all sorts came by to visit the Blakelys: They held a party for Langston Hughes that was standing-room only. It was less throw-down, more salon: Ideas were exchanged and vigorously debated over food and drink. "I remember James Baldwin coming through the front door," Nora Blakely says. She remembers Baldwin's large, piercing eyes, "I panicked! I was just a little kid, and his eyes looked so big and commanding to me."

When she taught, Brooks took the summers off, and would retreat into her home to enjoy reading and watching soap operas, rarely venturing out until summer's end. Nora Blakely remembers that after she received her driver's license, her mother sent her off to the grocery store. "Some of her grocery lists were poetry in themselves," she laughs. "She would describe things like 'bright, pearlescent, ruby tomatoes' and so forth, to be very clear about what we were supposed to find." (Those grocery lists are included in Brooks' archives, at the University of Illinois.)

A global consciousness

Brooks also began to travel during those summers off from teaching. She visited Kenya and Tanzania, and enjoyed making contacts on the African continent. Later, she and Henry would journey to Ghana. "She was making global connections between what was happening beside her and what was going on across the world," says biographer Angela Jackson.

This enhanced consciousness was reflected not only in Brooks' poetry, but in her person. "One day we walked in," Madhubuti remembers, "and she had a scarf on her hair ... then she took the scarf off her head and she had a natural. She had a natural hairdo." Brooks was no longer interested in the tyranny of the straightening comb. She even wrote a poem about it. "To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals" celebrates "the rich rouch right time of your hair," despite a country whose aesthetic seeks to coerce kinks.

By the time Gwendolyn Brooks died, in 2000, she'd been showered with prizes and prestigious appointments. She'd been appointed poet laureate of the state of Illinois, a position she held for several years. In that role, she became a circuit rider for poetry, crisscrossing the state, visiting schools, prisons and hospitals, reading her poems and listening to others recite them. ("We Real Cool" was a perennial favorite.)

She was the recipient of more than 70 honorary degrees from colleges around the country. She also served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress — the position that would eventually be renamed poet laureate of the United States. A writer's conference was established in her name at Chicago State University. One year, Toni Morrison was the speaker, and the author told the audience she probably couldn't have done what she did without Gwendolyn Brooks' example and work to show her it was possible.

Despite all the accolades and literary fame, "She was very unassuming, very humble," says fellow poet and friend Haki Madhubuti.

"Her truth-telling was relentless," says Angela Jackson. But she didn't sacrifice her craft to tell those truths. "She insisted upon an elegance of speech, an elegance of writing — a heightened language that pierced through to people to engage the souls of readers."
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rosemarie Kocz每: Art As Witness

I've been studying the work of three artists lately- Rosemarie Kocz每, Ade Bethune, and Rita Corbin. So, for this post I wanted to share the Kocz每's work. All three female artists were very powerful women that used art as their voice to call attention to social causes with the hope of effecting change as well as giving voice to the suffering of others.


Rosemarie Kocz每
1939-2007

Rosemarie Kocz每 was born in 1939 near Recklinghausen, Germany. Her family was deported in 1942 to a camp at Traunstein, near Dachau, and later to Ottenhausen near Saarbr眉cken until 1945. After the war, she lived with her grandparents until death of her grandmother, when she was sent to an orphanage where she was required to work fifteen hours a day. Her mother, from whom she had been taken, died in the early 1950s and Kocz每 became extremely ill and for a period of three years barely spoke at all. At the age of 20, she finally left the orphanage, and was able to return to her grandfather. It was on his advice and with his support that she left for Geneva, Switzerland where she worked as a domestic servant.
During her teenage years, Kocz每 had found an interest in drawing and aspired to be an artist. She began to concentrate on art, drawing portraits and copying El Greco from library books. At the age of 22 she enrolled at the Ecole des Arts D茅coratifs where she studied a variety of mediums, including tapestry weaving. The emphasis in her work shifted to drawings in 1975, as she explains, “I no longer felt able to speak of the camps, and although faces from the camps appeared in my tapestries I couldn’t render in textile the intensity of this need; so I decided to take up ink and draw.” (1)
The intensity and anguish in Kocz每’s work comes directly from her personal experience. She says, “I can only bear witness to my own life. I think of those that were buried like beasts. I mourn those who had the right to be preserved in memory and who have never been mourned, never been buried with dignity. With my works I am returning to them that memory and that dignity. That’s why I write on the back of my drawings: ‘Je vous tisse un linceau’ (I am weaving you a shroud). I draw it in order that such a tragedy might never recur!” (2)
In 1985, Kocz每’s work was chosen by Jean Dubuffet to represent the inaugural exhibition of the Neuve Invention portion of the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. This acknowledgement of her work and inclusion in the canon of outsider art does not diminish her focus, as she states, “ I don’t pretend to be an artist. I work every day like a labourer on that collective memory. I am just someone who renders justice.” (3)

It is the wish of Ms. Kocz每 that her work always be displayed with the following statements and documents.

I weave you a shroud.
Ich webe euch ein Leichentuch.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Exclusive Preview of Neighbors Helping Neighbors!

Here is a quick promo about ArtLifting on CBS Hidden Heroes. If you watch closely you'll catch a glimpse of featured McAuley House artist, Linda King. The original episode was published on Apr 3, 2017

Art news...

Congratulations to Linda King on her fantastic art opening at AS220 this past Saturday ! The show consists of three very accomplished artists. The exhibit is up until the end of May at AS220 Project Space @ 93 Mathewson St., Providence, RI




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

AS220 - New Gallery show opening May 6th, 2017


IN THE GALLERIES | MAY 6-27th, 2017
opening reception | Saturday May 6th, 5-7 p.m.
Open Window
On point/In motionLinda King
Congratulations Linda ! 

In the studio with Anthony Taylor

 Welcome to Anthony's World !
His studio rocks with positive energy and original paintings that greet the visitor the moment he opens his door. 
See more of Anthony's work at our art show- June 22nd, 5-7pm








Crafting and Painting in the afternoon...

Making Easter gifts ! 





There are so many creative guests at McAuley House. 
Thank you for sharing your art with us.