Madison Heights Arts and Cultural Board Helps Grow City’s Creative Spirit

Madison Heights Arts and Cultural Board Helps Grow City’s Creative Spirit

(Kymm Clark, Clark’s Fabrication, Madison Heights Arts and Culture Advisory Board, Feb. 18, 2019)

Madison Heights, MI –  “I just wish I could draw a stick figure…”

This is a common expression us creative types hear. It’s the age old assumption that artists are somehow born with their gifts, but we all know, it actually takes hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades of practice.

Heard this before? You have if you’re an “artist”.

Here’s what a lot of people may not tell you. You are an artist.

Yep, you .

It may not be how you conventionally think of art, but I can guarantee you that there is that one thing, that sparks a light in you, that keeps that existential dread from setting in. That is art.

I have been fortunate enough to have collected throughout my life, an incredible network of support from family, friends, and members of my community. Every time I do something right, I get praise, and my light burns bright from that. It makes me want to push forward, get better, and do it some more.

Imagine if every artist on this planet, (still talking about you here) had their own support to stoke their flame. Many people are not so lucky. Many, face insults, guilt, abuse, dehumanization or worse – on a daily basis. I’ve been through the wringer in my life, but I know there is worse. I have people in my life who have dealt with worse. I don’t want to feel lucky that I am not or no longer in that situation. I want to change it. I want to be the oxygen to someone else’s flame.

It’s a pretty easy thing to do when you think about it. We learned it in church. Just look to the person to your left, or right. This time though, instead of exchanging pleasantries and handshakes, ask your neighbor what they’re good at. I bet you’ll see that light right away.

Maybe only just a spark. When you do, you must engage. If you’re feeling ambitious, or like taking risks, ask how you can help. It may be something as simple as following them on

facebook or instagram, or donating a few dollars to their cause. Just breathe a little life into it.

Contribute to it.

This is why I joined the Madison Heights Arts and Culture Advisory Board. I saw a tribe of like-minded people, and I wanted to stoke that flame. Together we could build something amazing that could (stay with me now) completely transform how we look at our city. Suddenly, colors are brighter, neighbors ‘faces are more familiar, and as it turns out, there are quite a lot of us here!

In fact, on February 15, more than 200 people came out to celebrate local makers. Those 200+ people helped to raise more than $900 to help the Arts Board fund murals throughout our city, specifically, our first project, the Civic Park Shelter.

After having organized this event, I sit here tonight still flying high from this experience. I spent my day thanking artists and patrons, pointing out their contributions and the impact they made.

The praise was then returned in kind.

Before we knew it, 1,704 people (at the time of writing this article) had engaged in this process. Today, some of these artists who had stalled in their work to fulfill other more adulty obligations, are rethinking their commitment to their craft. Some are making new plans.

Community members are reexamining their take on what is possible in their hometown. Maybe we can build something “Uniquely Madison Heights.” Maybe, if we practice really hard, over and over again, take more risks, work together, learn from our mistakes, and lift each other up, we can completely transform the way we look at this city. Maybe we all have an “art” we can contribute. The city of Madison Heights has many volunteer opportunities to help improve the quality of life here in the city. I encourage each and everyone of you to dig deep, identify your craft, and think of how you can use it to spark light, and joy into those around you.

Then, take a couple steps back, and look at the masterpiece you helped to create.

How you can help:

If you’re interested in helping the Arts and Culture Advisory Board you can join us Wednesday

March 13 at 6pm for Coneys and Karaoke at Augie’s Bar and Grill. Proceeds from the event go towards funding the Civic Park Shelter Mural Project. If you are a visual artist, we are also accepting proposals for one or more of the walls of the Civic Park Shelter. Artist renderings and their requested pay for the work to be completed, will be accepted through Amy Misczak in the City Manager’s Office or by emailing Laurie Geralds, the arts board chair, at lbgeralds@yahoo.com. Alternatively, you can just freely donate to the cause by visiting us at www.mhartsboard.org and simply clicking the donate button.

Want to volunteer with us? Shoot us an email at mhartsboard@gmail.com or visit us at one of our public meetings. Our next meeting is Thursday, February 21, at 6:45 pm inside City Hall.

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