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Paint Love in Houston

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston earlier this year and we saw thousands of people being displaced and facing such loss and difficulty, our community's and our country's response was "How can I help?"

At Paint Love, we bring transformational art experiences to children and teens facing poverty and trauma and our team knew the programming and services of Paint Love could be our way of helping. 

We put an ask out to the Paint Love community of "who wants to be involved?" and we got such a supportive response.  After considering the best way to bring what we do to Houston, we decided to follow our own model in Atlanta of connecting artists with nonprofits and see if there were any artists and volunteers in Houston that were interested in service but needed logistical and resource support. 

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Through email exchanges with the Houston Arts Alliance, Galveston Arts Center and other great arts organizations on the ground we were connected to Meghan Hendley-Lopez and her husband Felipe (together they run fmhelps.me) who were working to organize artists, mostly musicians at the time, to serve at the NRG center.  From there we started talking about project needs and came up with a plan. 

PROJECTS

We decided to take two of our favorite projects from Atlanta that work well with groups of people and foster a sense of community to Houston. 

PORTRAIT PARTNER PROJECT

The first was a portrait partner project created by Joe Dreher (@joekingatl).  We did the project our first night in Houston at NRG and it was such a great success! Five volunteers from Houston came out to support the project. We had a steady flow of children and families throughout the evening. We heard some stories that broke our hearts and were able to hopefully encourage and bring some joy during a difficult time. It was a fun night filled with smiles and great community. We created the following video to send to our volunteers in Houston so they could prepare for the project before we arrived, check it out:

HOUSTON STRONG MURAL

Our second project, which we brought to the Children's Museum of Houston with the help of Jerry's Artarama, Meghan, Felipe, and Andrew Karnavas (of Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse) during their free admission day,  was a collaborative mural project we first did with Paint Love artist Morgan Corbett here. With suggestions from Meghan, our executive director, Julie McKevitt, created a #Houstonstrong skyline design.  We invited 192 children and families to join us in painting the piece together! The mural was a huge success!!

 

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We are honored to have created such wonderful partnerships and for the opportunity to work side by side with community members and artists in Houston!

Altered Portraits at Woodruff's Teen Lounge

We were so excited to host an event at the Woodruff Art Center’s Teen Lounge. We got to share this project with over 50 teens from all over Atlanta. We had a large team of artists to brainstorm the project. Amy Myers, Ross Boone, Margaret Crane, and Caitlin Chase all gave of their immense talent to make this project possible. The theme was social justice in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We did what all busy artists with jobs do, we started an email chain to collaborate. This might be my favorite stage of any project. I love hearing ideas and seeing things come together.

We started talking about the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. We're all so different, but we are also very alike, for reasons that have nothing to do with the color of our skin. We started thinking about what your actions have to say about the way you fit into the world? When you alter your portrait, when you act at all, you have the opportunity to show your true character. If we judged people by character alone, what would that look like?

This quote stood out to us from the I Have a Dream speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

That was our prompt. We like to come up with really deep questions, but then wait to see what the group dynamic is like before diving in. We let the kids decide how deep they want to go when discussing a theme. It turned out that we had tons of great opportunities for discussion. We had four Paint Love artists and one stellar volunteer so there was a lot of room for hands on instruction and one on one conversation.

The first step in our project was to take photos against a plain wall and print on canvas paper. 

A little practice run on an old canvas! 

A little practice run on an old canvas! 

After that, students were able to add to and alter their portraits using embroidery, paint and other found objects. We were so enchanted with the results. I've posted a few here, but you can find the full galleries on our Facebook Page

Gallery I   Gallery II   Gallery III 


A big thank you to Woodruff’s Teen Lounge for hosting us and to our incredible artists and volunteers. Special thanks to Binders for donating canvas boards!