Onward and Forward

I have been immersed these last few weeks in bringing the play “Eric and Elliot” by Dwayne Hartford to the New River Valley from Roanoke Children’s Theatre. Raising the money to book the play, advertise, promote, print materials, social media promotion, getting news coverage, putting up flyers, emailing stake holders, and etc.

It has been meaningful on many levels because of the play’s focus, which is teen depression and suicide. I’ve had articles and stories sent to me which I’ve posted on our Facebook page . I’ve had strangers call me to tell me why this is important due to how depression or suicide has touched their life. I’ve had people come up to me while eating in a restaurant or out and about to express their thanks in this being addressed because, evidently, we have a problem here, folks, especially in the middle schools from what I’m learning.

Then the snow unexpectedly came, and we had to cancel the show not once, but twice.  At first, I felt deeply discouraged. But this is nature. And so, I just gave it up. All I could do in that moment was let the years and my lifetime of the dear voices in my head who have guided me, reign. My mother; Be kind to yourself, things happen for a reason. My friend Shelly; Now someone who couldn’t see the show before but needs it will be able to. Doris; You do your best, and nothing gets wasted. My sister Lola; You will learn something very important and useful from this. My friend Roger; Things happen and we need to sit and understand, but they don’t change who we are–it’s just information. My friend Michele; You’re like a cat. You always land on your feet.

Unexpectedly I received several sweet messages via Facebook, email, text, in person from people known and not known expressing empathy for me knowing how hard I had worked. It really meant a lot, and totally erased any non-productive thoughts that my efforts had been wasted. Advertisers have offered to waive fees when we re-schedule, and others have asked to be kept up to date.

Roanoke Children’s Theatre‘s Artistic Director Pat Wilhelms is committed to us finding another date, and Jeff Smith at Radford High School is committed as well to making the show available to all.

Many hands and pockets have gone into this endeavor, and I will not let them down.

This truly is a community effort that is nothing about me. It’s about the group effort, and the group achievement. THAT, is community engagement.

Even though sometimes I feel like I’m misunderstood by many around me, and I miss “my tribe”, the truth is that I am surrounded near and far by many and many who have supported and are even more importantly–interested and curious– to see what I might stir up next. And that is nothing to sneeze at.

So, in a way, this is a ’round about THANK YOU, to the family, friends, and those unknown, who have helped, supported, or been curious about my artistic efforts. You people rock.

Happy Birthday, Stieglitz!

Happy Birthday, Alfred! Born January 1, 1864, Mr. Stieglitz would be 149 years old. He didn’t make O’Keeffe who she was, she did that all by herself and her experiences–but if it hadn’t been for his exhibiting her, supporting her in her early years of developing her own style, even provoking her–it may have taken us longer to be able to appreciate her art.

My favorite Stieglitz quote:

“I was born in Hoboken. I am an American. Photography is my passion. The search for Truth my obsession.”

Thank you, Stieglitz, for being art’s champion.

Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz, the father of modern art.
Flatiron Building, NYC, by Alfred Stieglitz


Alfred Stieglitz, the father of modern art.

Art Heals

Like the rest of the country, my family and I have had our hearts wrung with the unfathomable tragedy that struck in Newtown, CT. There is so much that could be said, and yet, really, what can you say?

I have been of late focusing on the healing power of art, not just since this past Friday, but really for some time. I offer this song which my husband Jon Piro wrote. I hope it will bring you comfort.

Rest in peace our little ones, and may a choir of angels comfort you in your transition. Surround those left behind with a balm that can one day be called peace.

Time For Us to Try

The Light Beyond

Gearing Up For the Feast

Despite trying to be nonchalant about it all, I’m kind of excited (if I knew how to add a happy excited sound here I would) about Thanksgiving and all the traditions that go with it, i.e. cooking and eating!

This year we have family coming from out of town, and it’s the first time I have a child coming home from college for the holidays. Weird. Wild. Wonderful.

The holiday meals were always exciting for me growing up because there was a great amount of creativity involved. Not only was food being prepared, but there needed to be decorations, place mats, napkin rings–you name it. Growing up, if anything could be made, you didn’t buy it. That’s what happens when your father is an artist and your mom is an ace seamstress. It was the norm to hear while shopping, “Oh, hey! Look at that, can we get it?”  Dad: “We can make that”.

When I think back to holiday meals as a kid, I have images of ribbon, paper towel tubes (cut up they make great napkin rings. ), poster paint, scissors, Elmer’s glue. It was the 70’s, so if something could be macrame’d, there was that. My friend, Ralph Berrier, Jr., author of If Trouble Don’t Kill Me http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7390665-if-trouble-don-t-kill-me?auto_login_attempted=true, and feature writer for the Roanoke Times asked me recently about these experiences, some of which he used in his recent article for his column The Dadline called “Meals, memories”. http://www.roanoke.com/columnists/dadline/wb/316864

Take a look at the picture here. It’s Christmas 1961. I’m the chubby cheeked munchkin impatiently waving the spoon, obviously the tail end of a family of 6. Check out the table runner my Mama made out of greeting cards, the bowl of ornaments in the middle–and sorry Martha Stewart–you were NOT the first to have this idea. The soldier decoration on the window I’m pretty sure was done by my brother most likely under the guidance of my sisters. And did you notice the napkin rings?

So I need to bring this to a close because there are pies to be made, some outdoor plant display thingy I want to try, and something to do with some grapevine. Did I mention the napkin rings?

Happy Birthday, Miss O’Keeffe!

O'Keeffe on a Harley

I think it’s quite appropriate to launch my website and my blog Art Matters, on Nov. 15, 2012, which just happens to be the 125th birthday of Georgia O’Keeffe!

Happy Birthday Miss O’Keeffe!

This is one of my favorite photos of her because it’s so unexpected. We tend to think of the O’Keeffe icon, strict bun, black and white in person and image. But my research, and what I hope comes forth in my one woman show, “O’Keeffe!”, is an artist who like all artists struggled and loved, and unlike many, lived a long, long time.  Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887-1986.


O'Keeffe on a Harley
Georgia O’Keeffe riding off into the wilds of New Mexico with a friend