I enjoy community collaboration – it is a big part of my process. Encouraging others to join me in creative flow and play is my greatest joy! While I found happiness creating small and often fragile pieces with others, I found myself dreaming of large-scale, long-lasting work within the community; something that captured the spirit of our time together. Seeing the growth in scale of the artists that completed the META Mural Residency program, I decided to apply in 2020. Instead of creating "likeable" answers to the application questions, I decided to take a risk and answer with raw personal honesty. It turns out that was the exact reason I was selected alongside four other artists.
As part of the META residency, we were asked to facilitate a community mural and bring it directly to the people. We first came up with the concept by answering the question: What do you need right now?
Our answers were: communication, time, safety, connection, and the feeling of being held. "I am Held" represents those five things.
We set up a mobile mural on the Black Lives Matter Plaza on Tryon in September. Being new to spray paint, I took a step back and honored the strength of the group, focusing on the participatory aspect. Visitors were given prompt cards and slips of paper to write their own answer to the questions. The final pieces were then wheat pasted into the nest on the 8’x16’ mural.
For my solo mural, I created a piece in honor of the vision and mission of the nonprofits of Innovation Alley - She Built This City, Rebuilding Together-CLT Chapter, and Digi Bridge. While I was working, someone came out to chat and we had a great conversation about construction, art, and the thrill of creating things with your bare hands.
The person I ended up speaking with? Demi Knight Clark, founder of She Built This City! That simple conversation connecting two strangers over art developed into an amazing curriculum partnership that I can't wait to tell you more about.
I firmly believe that when we are operating in our space of authenticity, we attract the right people and repel negative energy. The space I create is through the lens of relatability and compassion. This allows people to be open to trying new perspectives without fear of judgment or fear of being wrong. The art serves as the reminder, but the real work that enhances the city is the conversations and connections leading up to the work and the intrigue, awareness, and inspired action it sparks after.