MY FIRST TEDX | THE POWER OF PUBLIC ART
As a mixed media visual artist, advocate and mentor, I work to cultivate environments in which the creative class thrives through community works of art and community partnerships. Over the past 19 years, I have worked with individuals, organizations, and businesses; to among many things help promote recovery from substance use and addiction, support adult and adolescent mental health services, promote accessibility and diversity awareness, elevate voices and transform spaces through the power of art. I choose to wield the power I have for representation, not only in the art world, but also in my community and the greater world in which we inhabit to enrich it with opportunities for diversity. It is important to me that I recognize projects, programs and organizations that take tangible and direct steps toward a more equitable industry. During TEDx I was able to work with a TEDx consultant and The CEO & Founder at MRG & Associates LLP, Matthew Gilbert, who does just that.
As a former substance use counselor, I worked 6 years in adult residential services and 2 years in youth outpatient services. In youth services I really got into TEDx videos! Like REALLY👌🏽 I would talk with our youth about how I always wanted to share on the TEDx stage. I would say, #IAM going to one day. And they would encourage me! Saying they thought I should. And in 2021 I stepped on my first TEDx stage. The youth I worked with in Iowa were such a tremendous blessing! I can't express just how much love and hope I have in our youth and how much respect for them that I carry. When I stepped away from the counseling seat in 2020 one of the youth I worked with left me with a strong expectation. For me to produce an 'outdoor' public work of art that they could see. Little did that youth know, this was something I had been praying for and applying for for almost 5 years at that point. And in 2021, I got it. I carry that expectation in my head and my heart to this day. 🗝I say all this because sometimes so many of our dreams and expectations don't come to pass, in the way we hope they do. BUT, sometimes...THEY DO.