That does not sound quit as exciting as Humans of New York. Most people in this country have heard of Brandon Stanton’s Art Initiative Humans of New York. Brandon photographs every day people in New York City and lets them give a brief story about anything that they would like people to know about them. He photographs them in their “natural habitat”. The stories are funny, happy, sad and at times evoke compassion in the viewer.
Today while I was sitting at Nosh Cafe in Oldsmar FL working on my 100 Cups of Compassion initiative I struck up a conversation with 3 tourists visiting from MN. They asked me what I was doing with my paintings and I was happy to engage them in the history of 100 Cups but the conversation quickly became about the weather. I find it so interesting, being a native born Floridian that people think the weather here is so wonderful. I know it is because they are only here for the one month that it is not oppressively hot and these folks were not unlike any of the others.
As we talked about how the weather was on the other 360 days of the year, Angela picked out a cup of compassion. She told me how she missed painting and used to paint all of the time. I talked to her about my degree in Arts In Medicine and she shared with me a story about her friend who was in a deep depression and had chronic pain. She coaxed her friend to go with her and paint at a local studio and shared how freeing it ended up being for her friend and that for those few hours her pain was not a part of her life.
In the end I was glad that Angela had taken a painting. She understood compassion. She helped her friend by using creativity and in return, I hope I showed her a little bit of compassion through creativity myself.
Last week I asked a veterans art group, Veterans Creating for Community at the Indian Rocks Beach Art Center if they would like to paint a few cups of compassion to give away and they whole heartily agreed. (I knew they would because they are great people!). They wanted to share the compassion and pass it along. One of the veterans who had missed that class came in this week with a painting that she had completed herself on her own time to share! When you give a little it spreads.
This week I will be at various coffee shops in my community spreading the love. Please keep checking the blog and FB for updates and if you would like me to come to your shop feel free to contact me.
For decades these little cup paintings have been showing up in my life. I draw them in journals, paint them on phone, IPad and computer covers. I paint them small, big and in between. When I teach I use the cup as an example to teach form, value and composition. They are simple forms that when an explosion of color is added become an insight into the creators personality, mood and emotions.
For the past year I have been completely engulfed in two things, community and compassion. These two themes have presented themselves over and over again in my everyday life. I have studied them in my Masters Program Arts In Medicine at UF, I have signed up for Bible studies where they have been the focus and I have reflected on what these two words mean and how they co exist with in each other and within our world.
I began to ask the question how can I do something that will create change (no matter how small) in my community? How can I take a gift that I have and help to make a strangers day a little brighter?
We are all artist. It doesn't take much. An idea, a dream, a vision. That is how this initiative was born. How can I do something for my community (community being the people around me at any given point in my day) to help make their day a little more enjoyable? I can paint. I can share my paintings with my "community". A simple concept that is as simple as the cups themselves.
I will be giving away my small tea/coffee cup paintings for free. It is my hope that when I show up at local coffee shops in Florida, I might just be able to make a small difference in someone in my "communities" life.
If you would like to know where I am to receive a painting follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. I may be in a community near you.
By getting out into the community, I have the opportunity to meet strangers, engage in conversations, and give my paintings away to COMPLETE STRANGERS! In practicing using my Art as a form of compassion, I must overcome my ego to use my time, talent, and money to create an original work of Art to give away, not for sale in hopes of making someone else’s day a little brighter.