First Community Mosaic Project Outreach Session

by Pamela Goode

CMP EarthFare

Like a phoenix she rises, ruffled, marginally alert, and not quite ready to fly, having spent the past week drowsing under an ashy avalanche of Calls to Artists, press releases, and silicone-inspired dreams. But today, today we will actually touch tiles. Or at least wet clay. Today, we will have our first Community Mosaic Project Outreach Session.

I don’t teach, and there’s a reason for that. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I’ll be pondering it over several Amstel Lights while I put together a list of:

What I’ve learned about Community Mosaic Outreach:

1. If the scheduled hours are 10:00 – 2:00, you’ll need to be there at 9:00, and you won’t be home until 5:00. You’ll need beer.

2. Eat before you go, because there will be no lunch break. Ditto on the bathroom.

3. Kids don’t need as much help as adults do. Kids trust their ability, know exactly what they want to make, and don’t stew over color selections.

4. You will need to reglaze every tile. With some colors, several times.

5. Everyone will arrive at the same time, so have plenty of space and helpers available.

6. One rolling pin is not enough.

7. Kids are a lot neater than you think they’ll be, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get permanent paint on their clothes. If possible, have them wear something old or bring along some paint shirts. Bring lots of baby wipes.

8. EarthFare is a really great place to do outreach. They open their community room at no charge, help you publicize the event, help you clean up, and the people who show up are supportive, kind, enthusiastic, and well-behaved. The parents stay with the kids and work alongside them. And EarthFare even gives you a present. 🙂

9. The WIP sink-that-will-soon-be-a-fountain was a huge hit. At least four women who came in for bone density testing stopped in their tracks to talk about it and how much they’d love to have it. Can wait to get the pump working. Take a mock-up to help sell raffle tickets.

10. I anticipated that parents would bring their kids to make one tile each and leave. We had several groups that stayed for two hours making tiles! Only one parent said she was in a hurry, and that was because she had a shopping bag full of yogurt. We put it in the refrigerator for her and she let her kids cookie-cut and glaze clay at will.

11. I thought we’d have mostly 6-8 year olds. Our youngest was three (we had several of those), but we also had a gaggle of pre-teen girls, a teenage boy, quite a few EarthFare employees, and many parents.

12. Take a camera. There’s no better PR.

13. We didn’t charge for tile-making, since we want to promote community involvement. We did put a large jar with our logo on the table, and collected about $22 with no mention of money. Not much, but it probably covered the amount of clay and glaze we used for this small practice session. Firing will be graciously donated by Beloved Co-Sponsor Rose Hawley of Art in the Dairy.

14. Beer, did I mention beer?

All in all it was a great first effort, and a perfect practice session for our CMP tile-making tent Saturday, November 24 at Charlotte’s Light Rail Opening Celebration. I have a list of all the things I didn’t know I’d need, and a much better idea of what to expect. Art outreach is the greatest. Nobody whines.