Welcome at long last! Welcome my friends!Aug 26, 2021
Today I sit pondering all that has transpired over the past year and beyond that, the past few decades, that have led me to this very time and place. Eagerly, and somewhat nervously, anticipating the live event scheduled today at Canary Rising on Facebook where I will finally be able to announce the website is live.
Looking back on the journey that has led me to this place where I am today, I am astonished.
A flood of memories wash over me. This day last year, I was just getting into the groove of teaching live online. Two years ago I had just hung my solo show at the Racine Art Museum-Wustum for the Fellowship I had been awarded there. Three years ago, I was hosting an in person workshop in my own 1000+ sf studio in Wisconsin. Seven years ago, I was curled up in bed, thunderstorm sending down sheets of rain outside my window, as I recovered from participation in a nationally renowned art exhibition.
Further back still, just over 15 years ago this summer, I started my first blog after spending a few years reconnecting with my inner artist, the fledgling beginnings of this dream of today. That was the year that I walked through an old school building and a vision of a space for nurturing artists and community was laid on my heart.
Walking those halls, it was crystal clear, as if it were an overlay to the current reality. Over here, in the old lunchroom, I would invite my friend who bakes the yummiest gluten free deserts, to practice her craft with a coffee station for people to gather. And there, on the old stage in the gymnasium, would be spoken word artists and musicians - a gathering of friends, open to community on a Saturday night. And just down the hall, a wing of studios where artists would work and teach classes.
Of course that vision was not meant to be in the exact format that I had imagined. The growing and the learning necessary to undertake such an adventure was just getting started, but a seed was planted that year.
And every year since, I have watered it. Testing the leaves as they sprouted to determine what was needed. A little more light? Maybe a dash of fertilizer? Each step of this journey has been growth from that seed. Each chapter of this story has been informed by the last. Page by page, sometimes paragraph by paragraph. Sentence after sentence has been written. A nod to my declaration on this day nine years ago that I understood I had within my heart, a call and a map that would only reveal each next step to take, the next place through which I would grow.
Today, looking back on that step-by-step journey, I see that it had to be this way. I couldn't have known then, what I know today. That vision that I have faithfully followed has grown, along with my own being, more than I could have thought to ask for or imagine way back when I first began.
If not for the teaching across the country in venues large and small, I would not have understood the vastness of the creativity that lives within the heart of so many others. I would never have understood how intricately we were all connected.
If not for the opening of my big studio in Wisconsin, I wouldn't have known what it was like to make all the arrangements to host a gathering of people. If not for the plot twist that arose with the pandemic, I would not have learned what it takes to teach a class to a wider audience online. If not for the experience of opening my group Canary Rising and watching it grow on Facebook, I would not have imagined what those seeds of that earliest vision would turn out to be.
Today it begins. The space I have dreamed of for so many years, where creatives of all kinds will gather, connect, begin their own step by next right step journey is open. And yet it is only the beginning. Here is that schoolhouse art community center I envisioned so long ago. It has many rooms for you to explore. Courses to take and ways for you to connect with other like minded people. But there are plenty of rooms left to fill.
I am back at the beginning. The circle has expanded, our table has grown. The journey has brought me back to step one. And I eagerly with only a little trepidation, throw open the doors and say Welcome!
At long last, welcome my friends!
With so much love and gratitude,