We believe that making art is important! It changed both of our lives. We want to share that experience with others who may have limited opportunities to make art.
We're making art! Starting at Holly's birthplace, Lime Springs, Iowa, and ending at Robert's birthplace, New Orleans, Louisiana, and everywhere in between. The most direct manner we could think of is to arrive by bike and bring a unique art making experience straight to the communities, large and small. Our goal is to create an opportunity for people to make art with us and others in a safe, supported way.
We're biking! Having already completed a bike ride across the United States, Holly witnessed firsthand how close it brought her to a wide range of neighborhoods and people. We have biked the Natchez Trace and hiked around Jeju island in South Korea, and each escapade allowed us to connect with people we might never otherwise meet.
Why us? After Hurricane Katrina, we moved to New Orleans and worked to increase the number of creative opportunities there. We are both art therapists who have worked with people of all ages, children and adults, and encouraged them to give artmaking a try. This was especially true for people who had minimal exposure to art, or a low estimation of their art abilities. We have had much experience and training in supporting artmaking for a wide variety of people and communities...people who rarely talked to each other, probably didn't make much art, and definitely never made art together. We had the privilege of seeing a group like this make art together for hours at a time.
SO...we will equip our bikes with a mobile art therapy studio, stocked with an array of art materials, and we will ride from Iowa to Louisiana and make art along the way. We will stop in libraries, cafes, community centers, and on the side of the road to make art with anybody we meet. Some events will be planned ahead of time, most will be spontaneous. The specifics of the route is being developed as you read this, but in general our route will follow the Mississippi River Trail. Our ride will begin in mid-August 2014 and go until late October or longer, depending on how the route develops. We will begin posting the route in mid-July.
We will celebrate! The artists and the art created during our project will be recognized and celebrated in an art exhibit in New Orleans. This exhibit will include photos, artwork, and a collaborative piece of art that represents one inch for every mile we ride.
And then...when it's all over, we will create an art book using the images, sketches, stories, photos, and other material from the experience.
We know that art making changes lives! It changed ours!
Risks and challenges
We are both well-versed in making art with a wide variety of people (young, old, different races and cultural backgrounds), and we have made art with people in challenging locations, from hurricane shelters to roadsides to sidewalks to crowded community centers. We have made art in fancy museum lobbies and in the dirt in malaria-infested countries. In terms of the art making events, there is the possibility that the turnout is not as high as expected. We don't have a specific number of people that we aim to work with, but the higher the better, and we can adjust our route or approach if necessary.
In addition, there are obvious risks in riding bikes for such a long time on active roadways, and we will not put our health or safety at risk. We have prepared for the physical aspects of the project, including a warm-up bicycle ride across Iowa in the annual RAGBRAI event. We have done extended, physically demanding excursions before. Holly has ran a marathon, and although Robert has not actually run a marathon, he has spent many hours biking along next to Holly.
There may be challenges with weather, route changes, or other unexpected delays on the road, but we plan to be adaptable and flexible to make the project safe and successful. We don't plan to put ourselves in any danger by riding through a lightning storm or biking across a construction site. If necessary, we will adjust our schedule and change unscheduled parts of the journey in order to fulfill commitments and ensure a safe trip.
For the final project, we don't know what the content of the book will be, so there is the obvious challenge of turning the unknown parts into a cohesive whole. Yet we are confident that we will have many opportunities to find meaningful, funny, interesting, and creative moments that can be turned into a strong visual and narrative experience. We have both created work that combined images and narrative in our professional lives, and Robert has written two novels and published a comic book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)