Saturday, August 29, 2009

A great article on the mural in the Oregonian!

MIKE Program mural in Northeast Portland a memorial with a message

by Anna Griffin, The Oregonian
Friday August 28, 2009, 5:00 PM

The MIKE Program, founded in the name of the late Dr. Mike Hartnett, helped craft a message about healthy kidneys for the subject of a mural on an oft-tagged wall of a Northeast Portland dialysis clinic.

You're probably sick of mural stories. After all, there are a million murals in our painted city, with plenty of new ones on the way now that Portland leaders have seen the cultural light and loosened restrictions on what business owners can paint on their property.

More is better, as this tale illustrates.

At Dr. Michael Hartnett's funeral nine years ago, friends and former colleagues approached his wife to ask an important, if untimely, question: How are we going to honor Mike's memory?

Hartnett was a nephrologist at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center and the Northwest Renal Clinic. He died of lymphoma at 58 after spending his career working to promote healthy lifestyles in the Pacific Northwest.

After some time grieving, his wife, Dr. Cheryl Neal, planned to create a "living memorial" to her husband: a nonprofit that would work to guard against chronic kidney disease, particularly in African American and Latino children from poor and broken homes.

Volunteers for the MIKE Program -- named after Hartnett but also short for Multicultural Integrated Kidney Education Program -- talk to school health classes about nutrition and exercise, take students on field trips to hospitals and dialysis clinics, and provide mentors and career guidance.

"You ask kids what their biggest health need is, and it's relationships," Neal said. "They don't have good health role models."

The DSI NE Portland Dialysis Clinic, at Northeast Seventh Avenue and Hancock Street, works with MIKE. Last year, clinic administrators approached the nonprofit with their own problem: Graffiti artists were repeatedly taking advantage of the clinic's big western wall, an expanse of white that was a magnet for gang-related tagging.

The Regional Arts and Culture Council, a nonprofit that shepherds public investment in the arts, hooked MIKE up with Robin Corbo, a muralist whose work includes the painting outside the Community Cycling Center on Alberta Street and one honoring women on Interstate Avenue.

She met with students at the Portland Occupational Industrialization Center, an alternative high school in North Portland, to brainstorm. Worksystems Inc. helped recruit interns and paid them minimum-wage salaries to do the painting alongside Corbo and volunteers.

The total cost: about $20,000 in public and private grants. The finished product: a 2,000-square-foot sunrise-to-sunset tour of all the ways young people can help protect their kidneys.

The characters bike, walk, sing, dance, snowboard on Mount Hood, practice karate and enjoy a picnic of healthy food. There's definite attitude: The sun, for example, sports sunglasses, a handlebar mustache, a goatee and the look of a guy in on the joke. The artists modeled many of the faces after students in the MIKE Program.

Everyone involved gets something: For the student interns, summer jobs and real-world experience. For the clinic and neighborhood, a splash of color and graffiti deterrent. For Neal, a memorial to her husband. For the rest of us, the mural, which will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Sunday, is a rainbow-hued reminder to take better care of our bodies.

"Mike would have loved it," Neal said.

-- Anna Griffin;

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Need of Ease-of-Transition

"For the time being the highest peak, for the time being the deepest ocean; for the time being a crazy mind, for the time being a Buddha body; for the time being a Zen Master, for the time being an ordinary person; for the time being earth and sky... Since there is nothing but this moment, 'for the time being' is all the time there is." -- Zen Master Dogen

The Mural is Almost completed!

The MIKE mural is nearing completion and is looking so amazing. Please check it out and don't forget to come to the dedication ceremony Sunday at 4 pm at: DSI NE Portland Dialysis Clinic 703 NE Hancock Portland, OR 97212

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

— Barack Obama

Monday, August 24, 2009

50/50 Exhibit/Benefit Sale FIrst Friday 100th Monkey

Today I created my piece for the 50/50 exhibit at 100th Monkey Studio! I am very pleased with the result. I was inspired to create a book that will hang on the wall for the exhibit out of my 8" x 8" panel of wood. It is filled with images I photographed, essays I wrote, quotes from wonderful sources that I have collected and other mixed media. The piece is entitled "Connection". It will be at the exhibit/sale to benefit the scholarship fund at 100th Monkey Studios. I hope you can come to the exhibit and own a piece of original art for merely $50 and benefit the scholarship fund as well! These pieces will be sold directly off the wall, on a first come first serve basis. What better way to engage in the remarkable story that the studio was named for and become part of the change. Please join me and the other Portland area artists The opening reception on First Friday September 4th 100th Monkey is located at 110 SE 16th Ave and Ankeny. This will also mark the third anniversary of the studio that was created by two determined young women who wanted to create a difference through creating a place for creating art. The name The 100th Monkey Studio was adopted because the founders, Beth Ann Short and Joy Leising saw the opportunity for humankind to have the same sort of “phenomenon” in relation to using art as a means of self-care as well as self-expression. It is our goal that art making in a community setting become infectious, bringing art into people’s everyday life. In this creative community space any one is welcome to come and learn from each other, while supporting and embracing each other's differences. I hope to become a volunteer at the 100th Monkey this coming fall. The name of the studio was inspired by a story one of the partners read. It is a story that some believe to be fiction, but the message is one of positive social change. The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years. It was documented that in 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists had been leaving the monkeys sweet potatoes in the sand in exchange for a look into their social culture. In 1958, one female was documented as washing the sweet potatoes in a nearby stream to rid it of the dirt and sand. She was documented as teaching the habit to her mother and her playmates. The new trait spread throughout the island. Suddenly not just on this island, but on surrounding islands and onto the mainland monkeys were washing their food. The number 100 is merely a symbol, but in the story it was used to recognize when the trait forever changed the species. This magical occurrence was named the 100th Monkey Phenomenon. The 100th Monkey Studio is a strong supporter of community. When able, the studio partners with non-profits for monthly shows to give the non- profits a platform to educate the community about what they do. Past partners have included but are not limited to: * My Story Workshops * Dove Lewis * Children's Relief Nursery * Quest Center * SMYRC * Green Empowerment * Zimbabwe Artist Project * Africa AIDS Response

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Satisfying Creative Weekend

The Multicultural Integrative Kidney Education project mural is progressing at amazing speed. From day to day it is evolving and I look forward to seeing it each time I return to paint as I see it take on a new and exciting form. The talented artists of all ages that are coming out to volunteer is incredible. Robin Corbo is an amazing lead artist and it is an honor to work under her direction. I hope you can all make it to the mural dedication on Sunday, August 30 at 4 pm at 703 NE Hancock to see this fabulous project reach it's completion and to honor all the youth who have leant their creative hands to the mural. This weekend I also had the opportunity to take a wonderful workshop given at Bullseye Glass by Carrie Iverson. I had the chance to learn and experiment with printing on glass. I look forward to incorporating this technique into my clay work and am excited to see where it will take me! This coming week I will begin to work on my piece for the 50/50 exhibit/scholarship fundraising piece for 100th Monkey Studio. I have lots of ideas brewing so check back to see it as it comes to fruition.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The moment called life

Well much time has passed since the last entry and not because there is nothing happening. On the has been so full and rich with life that it has been difficult to carve out time to write. I recently read
"Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment, living in the moment could be the meaning of life"
I think that just about sums it all up!
Much of life has been joyfully revolving around Adam and Tiffany's wedding, with lots of friends and family gathering, with parties, creative food and crafts at the surprise Luau shower and all the wonderful things that are leading up to the big day! This weekend was a tremendous success and Tiff was truly surprised at the Luau Shower where we all tried to bring Kauai to Portland! I have been finding time for the 2 most important things to me besides my family, creating art and creating dance. I cannot remember life before the Ecstatic Dance Community became a part of my life. Creating and Dance have been helping to sustain me as I still try to find balance in my life and care for my wrist as it is still a huge issue in my life for going on 2 1/2 years, as well as chronic headache pain that I am delighted to say, has been tremendously improved with Cranial Sacral Chiropractic work. For that I am very grateful to Jeanette Cummings and fellow artist Alisa Looney for the life transforming recommendation. I am trying to find a way to dance with the pain I have rather than battle it. Not always an easy or successful task, but I am trying to be patient with my body and find a meeting place of compassion. So far the spring transitioned into summer as we started with a trip to visit Jenni in San Francisco with a side trip to Sonoma. I then had the great thrill of joining Michael in a place I would never think of as "my kind of fun", Las Vegas, as he lived out a fantasy of playing poker with the celebs. He earned this free trip and won entry into this normally high stakes tornament! I followed this with a trip to Cloud Mountain in Washington for a silent Buddhist Meditation Retreat, a dance retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, two trips to Cannon Beach, and a trip to Salt Lake City to meet our wonderful new growing family. The remaining time I am spending collecting and creating. I have been working a bit in clay but mostly making found art assemblage pieces which I have been finding very satisfying to create. This month I began to help paint on Robin Corbo's latest mural project. You can view the progress of it at : MIKE is the Multicultural Integrative Kidney Education program. The site of the mural is .The intention of this mural, which is on the 100' x 20' wall of the dialysis center on NE Hancock, is to work with diverse often marginalized youth to provide an alternative avenue for a healthy life style while creating a beautiful work of art in the North East Portland District. Painting side by side with community youth and hearing their stories is wonderful and the artwork that has been done is phenomenal. I am excited to begin painting on in again later this week now that I have survived the Luau with flying colors! I am also creating a piece for The 100th Monkey Studio Each of the artists participating in,this fundraiser "50/50" for the scholarship fund will be creating a piece of art on an 8" x 8" block of wood with no restriction as to what we do with it. Each piece will be for sale for $50 an amazing way to own a one of a kind piece of art completed by a local artist and benefit the scholarship fund. The 100th Monkey studio is a space that provides a safe affordable place for anyone to have access to art supplies and create in an atmosphere of freedom and acceptance to express themselves, as well as art therapy and other art services open to the community. Please read the 100th Monkey story and how it all got started. It is a beautiful story! I think it has the opportunity to effect all our lives if we allow ourselves to think of the far reaching effects we can all have on other locally and globally by our seemingly small actions. Please check back often as I will be updating these two projects. Labor Day Weekend I will have a sculpture on exhibit at the annual Art In The Pearl at the Pacific NW Sculptors Guild booth. Please stop by and visit! Also check Adam and Tiff's wedding blog to follow all the wedding fun as it unfolds!!! Until next time remember what Albert Einstein said:
"Not everything in life that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"