June 2, 2011
Here are some thoughts about the importance of our community-art project as a part of recovery in Joplin. Our project has always been centered around the opportunity for community driven art to inspire, remember, and envision. As Joplin begins its long process of recovery, our project and how it can engage the community, may be more relevant and useful, pertinent and powerful than we could have imagined.
Although our primary focus has been the creation of one large mural downtown, the current needs of residents and neighborhoods may lead us to making a series of smaller, perhaps more temporary pieces, that give support and inspire residents as they work together to recover and rebuild. We could call these smaller works placed around town “Signs of Hope.”
These Signs of Hope would be in addition to a larger mural, on an existing wall or on panels, that would gather together expressions for Joplin’s recovery as expressed in our community workshops held at the Spiva and around town. This larger mural would be a place of beauty and memory where residents young and old could view the mural and also add their personal wishes, thoughts, and ideas in the form of drawings, poetry, photos, etc. These collected images and writings would be documented and possibly printed in a book and/or published on a website dedicated to our project. And as we work together to create these artworks, Nicholas and Amber will be filming the process. Their film will be a way for Joplin residents, and people in other communities facing tragedy, to understand the efforts of local people to cope and rebuild and how Art was integral to that process.
The process of creating both the larger mural and Signs of Hope will give Joplin residents an outlet and a means for engaging with their experiences, memories, and hopes that can help in healing.
Art gives voice to experiences that are difficult to express in words
Art helps us cope with the perplexity of tragedy
Art asks questions
Art offers solutions
Art can inspire and give strength
Art can recapture the beauty and memory of what has been lost
Art prompts recovery by visualizing what can be
Art gives form to memory
Art is a means of expression to deal with conflicting feelings of frustration, anger, hope, and resilience
Art gives consolation
Art is a process open to all