Unit 6 – Community Art Project Q&A

Describe your community. You may be a part of many communities: church, school, neighborhood, youth groups, town, or social organizations. Describe the community to which you are closest

I’ve been close to numerous communities throughout my life. I’ve been connected to my peers at school, numerous individuals within numerous subdivisions and cliques of everyday high school life. I’ve gone to church several for several years, and have connected with the older members, as well as being a part of the youth group. Perhaps the community I’m closest to now is that which pertains to my major: Media Studies. I know and work with a lot of these individuals, and can count most of them among my very close friends. We’re eccentric and vibrant and versatile, a mix of technical know-how and aesthetic scrutiny. We’re varied geographically, ethnically, and philosophically. We work hard, but enjoy slacking off a little too much. We’re a melting pot. And to me, that’s amazing.

 What are the shared experiences and events in your community?

Mostly work and class. The friendships forged in the media department are done mainly through shared learning experiences. People who tend to hang out as subgroups within the larger group tend to hang out with each other in situations outside of the working environment. One of the go-to hang out places for us has been The Brass Rail, a quiet little bar directly across from Gellas. We like to have a drink and be sociable about it.

 What common goals do you and the people in the community share?

We all want to simply be successful. You can’t tell me that fresh blood comes to our media program without a nugget of hope that someday she/he is gonna be making millions, bringing home Oscars, and having crazy, drug-fueled orgies. I know I had that nugget of hope. I still do. Not the orgies part, though, that’s not really my thing.

 What stories in your community need to be told?

This is an interesting question to put to someone of my vocation. Telling stories is what I do, what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. The stories that we tell right now are the ones that need told. That’s part of our privilege as artists, in that so much of what’s personal and true in our eyes already influences our creations. And that kaleidoscope of philosophical context and artistic interpretation is always changing. If I had to choose, I’d say the story of our journeys to get where our dreams lay. That’s a universal story that everyone can relate to.

 How might individual, group, and community stories be told through art work? What type of community art project can you propose to tell said stories?

Well, film-making is an art. I’d propose that my community does what it does best, and simply channel everyone’s stories into one protagonist whose journey shares the obstacles we all face, whose scars come from our own bodies. And since a film involves very many people over a long period of time, it’s already likely to have everyone contribute.

 Is there a sign, symbol, ritual, or story from these questions that could act as a central metaphor & logo for your proposed community art project?

I suppose a resonant leitmotif could be the struggle to find one’s voice in the crowd. Not only that, but to have it heard, to let it be known that your voice matters, that you’re special for reasons other than the patronizingly cliché rationale that everyone is unique for being their own person, rather than having attributes that makes them shine.

 Are there opportunities for you to support and expand upon local craft traditions with your proposed community art project?

Hays is quite the artsy town, if you know where to look. We could use some of those locales as backdrops for use in visual metaphors to reinforce our thematic element. Widespread popularity of the film will only look good for Hays, as its patronage of the arts will be recognized, and possibly rewarded with fresh talent.

 Discuss the idea that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What aspects of the community environment do some members of the group find beautiful that others do not? Can those who find something ugly see it in another way?

Oh, so many things. Color grading. Cinematography. Lighting. Makeup. Costumes. All these things are necessary considerations in the same way that the three primary colors are necessary for a painter. Really, it comes down to how you tell a story. Others are going to prefer it be told in another way. The differences may not be recognized by the layman. And this is for a story that’s been agreed upon. Some people may not like certain characters or dialogue or the plot. The difference is entirely creative, and so can be huge or inconsequential.

 Who could you partner with for this project?

Anyone and everyone, so long as we could find a place for them in our story.

 Where could this proposed project take place or be displayed?

Once we’re done filming, we’d most definitely have a screening at Beach/Schmidt on campus. We’ll also upload it to Vimeo so that everyone can see it.

 Who would you like to reach in this project? Who would you like to see or be educated  by this project?

I’d like to reach anyone going through a struggle to be heard, be they peers or older members of the school trying at a second chance for a good education. Also, I’d like this project to be seen by those who could make a difference in my future. I’d like to make connections with this project, and further the realization of my own dreams through it. And, finally, I’d like my parents to watch it, because I know they’ll be proud.