What a pleasure it was to be in the company of willing adult learners (plus one child) who did not hesitate for one moment to unleash the textile artist in them as they recently designed their own unique holiday silk scarves! The sole elementary school student participant was just as comfortable. She confirmed my suspicion when she loudly declared something to the effect of, ” I am enjoying myself”.
With the exception of two participants with some art background, these ladies came in ready for the challenge-not knowing what to expect. It is clear to me from the nature of my interaction with each artist, that their anxieties were quickly laid to rest when they began to appreciate the fact that what they initially regarded as “mistakes” during a creative process were now valuable opportunities to expand their reach and embrace their own creative spirit in a manner that they can truly be proud of. This was true for those who thought they had “messed up” their work! After a few demonstrations, they could see for themselves how creativity and the concept of messing up just do not mesh!
If you are by now thinking that I quite enjoyed facilitating this Workshop, you are right. It was yet another pleasant reminder of why I have chosen to utilize my passion for the arts to creatively communicate and interact with others!
Thank You, goes to Jude Schanzer, the Director of Public Relations and Programming, of the East Meadow Public Library for granting me an opportunity to share my creative talent with the library’s patrons. I thank the workshop participants whose enthusiasm reinforced the “why I do, what I do factor” of my artistic journey and my other half, James Lacy – a fine example of one who believes in unconditional love and support!
Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed., Program Director/Facilitator
Madona Cole-Lacy is a registered Nassau and Eastern Suffolk BOCES Teaching Artist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Time Has Come Program Provides art-related workshops for Schools * Libraries * Faith and Community-Based Organizations.
Promotes and Supports Equality * Inclusion * Diversity.
Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally-inspired works of art.
Develops skills and techniques in the execution of handcrafted contemporary and multicultural textile designs and visual arts.
When was the last time you did something that was work-related and felt so satisfied from that experience that you actually thanked yourself for having made the choice to follow that career path? That high level of satisfaction was all mine as I worked with a group of ladies at the Wyandanch public library who for the first time last week, had a go at textile designing and fabric stamping…on silk fabric, no less !
It was not the resulting designs that each participant executed that caused this level of excitement and satisfaction. It was the way they each looked inwardly to draw strength and determination to get there. It was the intense nature of their interaction with the tools, their determination to master tools they were unfamiliar with, the ease with which they connected with me as their facilitator, the presence of great camaraderie, and last but by no means least, the sense of pride they each exuded as they modeled their final product. Enough said, see for yourself by watching the presentation below.
I invite your comments and the sharing of your latest experience on the Joy of Self-Actualization.
Libraries, schools and community organizations can request this and other social and cultural art-related workshops that can be tailored to their needs or desires.
The visuals of what appeared to be a whirlwind workshop experience at the Wyandanch Public Library yesterday, speaks volumes of the impression I walked away with. While I believe the photos adequately depict the atmosphere and experience at the library, I feel compelled to express the joy and excitement I felt as I worked with a group of students who were ‘hungry’ to learn new techniques and new ways of expressing themselves. This point needs to be made because I find it contrary to popular belief that high school students don’t want to be bothered at the end of the day – after ‘doing’ school especially by people they are not familiar with.
I could not have wished for a better group of participants who kept me on my toes as they went through the arduous and sometimes frustrating process textile designers go through to put their point across.
Here are the sentiments which did not show up in the previously published post:
Since, I cannot in good conscience consider the workshop participants’ comportment and commitment to the task at hand a mere coincidence, I must thank the good villagers of Wyandanch and give them due credit for the effective role they collectively play in the lives of our youth. Kudos to the parents and caring community members, the Wyandanch library director who stopped by for a pre-workshop chat, the Youth Program Coordinator and library staff who pitched in to make this a wonderful experience for all, and the leadership of the Wyandanch High School who undoubtedly foster a sense of discipline in their students. Keep it up!
My Time Has Come Program
Promotes tolerance to racial, cultural, ethnic and generational differences.
Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally inspired works of art.
Develops skills in the use of hand-crafted textile designs, contemporary and multi-cultural visual arts techniques.
As I take stock of all that I have learned about the rich history and culture of Black Americans, and Black pioneers around the world as a whole, during the month of February that has been officially designated for the observance of Black History, I cannot help but ask myself how that knowledge and the accompanying mindset can be translated into respect and regard for self and others. My hope is that a large number of us have made a worthwhile contribution to lifting up and keeping Black History alive by engaging in activities and participating in events that can only help people of the human race understand that there is indeed a common denominator inherent in all citizens of the world that is anything but common. For there is so much more to this “common” denominator. It is binding, it is healing, and possesses the ability to forgive and assuage fear and ignorance…and yes, it can quite easily yield the opposite result when it is not given the attention it needs to flourish.
In addition to my contribution to the Black History Month enrichment process, I was blessed with knowledge that I otherwise would not have received had it not been for those who made major contributions by sharing so many “Firsts” by Blacks that were virtually unknown to the masses before now. I was elated to see establishments make a move towards spotlighting people of African descent here on Long Island – a move whose time had come, in light of the unsettling racial climate in this country.
I invite fellow Americans and African Americans to join me in enjoying this sense of pride and desire to understand the rich legacy of people around us, in a manner that will stay with us way beyond the last day of February.
As America welcomes Women’s History Month; followed by Asian Pacific American Heritage, Older Americans Month and Jewish American Heritage Month in May; I want to take it upon myself to ask everyone who understands the need for these special observances, to plan on making some move toward gaining a little bit more knowledge of and appreciation for the spotlighted groups.I hope that those who do not understand will be open to a briefing from those who do. This, of course, is only a sampling of other significant upcoming observances of various ethnic and special interest groups that make up the diverse fabric of the American culture!
Let it be known that as I make this request, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that some would say, “Why should I care about this or that group?” My response to that question is as follows: If for no other reason that is remotely obvious to you, you should care because the bliss of ignorance must be superseded by the folly of wisdom if we expect to be treated with respect, empathy and even sympathy when it is our turn. We cannot allow the unwillingness to make wholesome connections to lead us down the path of ignorance.
Newsday Jan 24 2016 (‘Dynamic, multi-ethnic art’- page E6)
The tone has been set with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday and Black History Month Cultural Enrichment activities leading the way to more opportunities for Americans to find that common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind. Let us not miss out on the power of cultural enrichment and social enlightenment that will subscribe to the greatness and security of our neighborhoods and country. What we do with this opportunity will augment the process through which we can make the world a more congenial place in which we can all proudly take on the responsibility of healthy engagement, and build a firmer foundation on which the next generation of the human race can stand. This mindset, by the way, is race, ethnic and gender neutral; and calls for those who are now referred to as “those people” to be equally engaged and appreciated by those who may not have given this a thought in the past.
In conclusion, I would like to offer executable tips on ways we can go about obtaining and maintaining a much-needed cultural enrichment, social enlightenment and racial harmony.
The following starter ideas can, in part, be attributed to my observations last month
- Don’t exclude yourself from discussions that are meant to uplift, empower and educate-in person, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or other social media portals-simply because you can’t see yourself relating to “those people”.“Those people” exist in all neighborhoods on all corners of the world, and could use some refreshing input laced with sensitivity and a desire to connect in a healthy way with them.
- Make it a point to converse with an associate or co-worker whose race, ethnicity or social group is being celebrated at the time. This would work well within group settings of professional and community organizations where, more often than not, people are brutally prejudged.
- If you have young children or teenagers in your life, hold a discussion with them to find out their opinion on, or knowledge of the culture or history of the highlighted group for that month. Don’t forget to share helpful resources with them. Encourage them to hold discussions with seniors in the community. This can be arranged with Senior Centers, Churches, Synagogues, Mosques etc.
- Go on a themed exploratory trip to the library, utilize google, see what Wikipedia has to say and visit museums, art galleries and other places that can assist you with a horizon-broadening experience. Write a poem on your impression, do a painting or come up with your own creative form of self-expression that would suggest growth.
- Remember that you can neither be held responsible for the atrocities your ancestors might have perpetrated on others nor be pigeonholed as the ultimate helpless victim of circumstance, if you don’t conduct yourself in ways that bring to life the negativity of past experiences or support the perpetuation of the selfless victim syndrome. We cannot wish away the mistakes of the past, but we can surely work toward improving the present climate that we have inherited by acknowledging the resulting pain, hurt and confusion; and formulating a language that will generate camaraderie and healing instead of stone-throwing, name-calling and worse!
- When in doubt, show LOVE, connect with EMPATHY and unleash KINDNESS. These three tools are versatile enough and come in color schemes that do not ever lose their luster without much effort on the part of mankind.
- Cast aside the built-in suspicion which invariably leads to defense mechanisms that keep your radar up in the company of people you are meeting for the first time. Be open to interacting with people from whom you may potentially learn something new.
- Be genuine in your interactions with others. People tend to switch off when they realize that they are dealing with the disingenuous.
West African Surface Design Workshop conducted in observance of Black History Month. Wear Your Art: An African-Inspired textile designing workshop.
Congratulations to Devon Harris, motivational speaker, author and founder of the Keep On Pushing Foundation, on being honored for his community service by New York’s Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano at the Caribbean American Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2013.
Mr. Harris, also of Jamaican Bobsled fame, has for the past two years been an avid supporter of Long Island’s non-profit, Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. and the My Time Has Come Program. These long island based programs have been served well by Mr. Harris’ captivating and spirited motivational presentations to parents and youth.
Also honored were:
Mr. Ron Clahar – Principal of Pat -Kam School and Early Childhood Center
Ms. Lorna Lewis – Superintendent of the Plainview Old Bethpage CSD & Adjunct Professor at Hofstra University
Mr. Lennox O. Price – Consul General of Barbados to New York.
We congratulate all of these honorees for the exemplary work they are doing in their respective fields and communities.
Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. engages in activities designed to empower youth & families by providing tools for handling the challenges and pitfalls of life in the 21st Century through the use of the arts, fashion and culture alongside creative personal development and behavioral modalities.
My Time Has Come Program is an art-related cultural and social enrichment enterprise which offers workshops to teachers, students and community organizations. My Time Has Come Program promotes tolerance to racial, cultural, ethnic and generational differences; fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally inspired works of art; and develops skills in the use of hand-crafted textile designs and contemporary, multi-cultural visual arts techniques.
Author: Madona Cole-Lacy, MA Ed.
Founder: Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc.
Program Director/ Facilitator: My Time Has Come Program
The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. ~Leo Rosten~
Our self-empowerment workshop for college-bound students and their parents at Molloy College on Saturday, June 9th, went well as a result of the support our sponsors and supporters gave.
We would like to thank all our resource persons, Presenters, panelists, donors, sponsors and all those who have given us much needed moral support as we made plans for this day.
We owe you a special debt of gratitude. We thank you for taking this journey with us and look forward to your continued support as we strive to empower our youth and their families.
Finally, we would like to thank the parents and students who joined us and took full advantage of this opportunity.
Madona Cole-Lacy & James A. Lacy
My Time Has Come program, the visual and cultural arts component of Madona Cole Originals wearable art business, provides art and fashion-related social and cultural enrichment activities which assist people in the successful navigation of life’s challenges. This is accomplished through incorporating social, cultural and personal development concepts into hands-on art related workshops. Other workshops address issues such as parents/child relationships, peer relationships, dress etiquette and professional development for teachers. In addition to workshops; consultation to agencies and organizations around staff and program development, educational fashion shows/presentations, cultural observations and celebrations, motivational speeches and musical presentations are available. Visit http://www.mytimehascome.org for further information.
Yesterday, I responded to news of a husband and wife murder-suicide and 4 innocent surviving child victims in a community where I have lived for over 20 years.
I woke up this morning to find that the North Bellmore School District had taken the lead with a public statement on how they intend to support the true victims of this seemingly senseless and selfish act that has disrupted the lives of their students. This got me thinking about ways the community can honor and embrace these children.
As updates begin to unfold the ‘facts’ of the ‘case’, there is an outpouring of sentiments expressed by community members. One such person, Laurie, commented, “there are indeed no words or donations that can help these kids”. Even as I subscribe to this thinking too, I believe there must be something else a community can do alongside other initiatives earmarked for the children that could bring about a meaningful change. Recognizing that this travesty can happen in any community around the world, I feel compelled to write this version of my post to the Bell more Patch, to address those outside the confines of the North Bellmore community.
What comes to mind in terms of a meaningful change would require us to change our way of thinking. As a community, we must do our very best to operate in the “brother’s/sister’s keeper” mode. We must resolve to refrain from turning a blind eye to dysfunctional behavior and seek help …even for our neighbors.
We are indeed our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. This, of course, will call for us to be honest with ourselves and take the proverbial moat out of our own eyes first. I cannot at the moment think of a better way to work towards ensuring that horrific happenings such as this one become a thing of the past. It is a given that education, is a necessary tool in this process. People need to know what to do, where to go, and how things work in general.
Please feel free to offer your ideas on how we can go about developing and maintaining a mentally and emotionally sound community in the name of 4 children who have some challenging times ahead…no matter what.