A client at N Street Village sat in a Wellness Center Open Studio art class not too long ago. She used paper and colored pencils to create what she soon decided to call Beauty of Life. When I told this client that we would like to include her piece in our second annual Client Art Show, she looked me in disbelief, telling me that she isn’t an artist. I told her that she should look at her amazing drawing again, for she most certainly IS an artist. She stared at her work, and while she still held on to some of her original skepticism, a small smile on her face told me that she was beginning to change her mind.
This client later wrote in a statement to accompany her artwork, “When I was drawing this piece I was thinking about my life and the different challenges I have faced as well as overcome. The color scheme represents the different emotions I have had throughout my life. I made this drawing from my wish that people would not be so quick to judge others based on the outcomes of their situations. I wanted to tell a story about myself without the use of words.” Sounds like a true artist to me.
Beauty of Life, along with thirty other works by N Street Village clients, will be displayed at the Fathom Creative Gallery in Logan Circle this week. For our clients, having their artwork professionally displayed for the public to enjoy is a great achievement. But in my opinion, their real accomplishment is the courage they displayed in putting their thoughts and feelings into physical form – including sketches, paintings, crochet, and poetry.
Watching N Street Village clients create work for the art show has shown me that with access to the right tools and a positive, encouraging environment, anyone can tap in to who she is and find her own way of expressing herself. Organizing this art show also reinforced for me the power of teamwork. Many volunteers and staff members came together to help make this show possible. From donating art supplies, to guiding clients in writing their artist statements, to framing and curating our exhibit, team members gave much of their time, resources, and enthusiasm to our clients.
I invite you all to join us Thursday, April 26 for the public showing of N Street Village’s 2nd Annual Art Show! Click here to RSVP.
By Ilana Krakowski – Ilana is a member of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and serves as the Program Assistant in the Health and Wellness Center. Ilana organizes Wellness Center programing, coordinates volunteers, and manages the Wellness Center receptionist team. Ilana is from New York City and graduated from Barnard College with a BA in Comparative Religion.