Every October, in honor of National Arts & Humanities Month, local arts and community leaders partner with Americans for the Arts to host Creative Conversations.
In 2011, My Time Has Come Program invited Long Islanders to participate in community engagement by hosting a free “Creative Conversations and Artistic Expressions” event at the Merrick Golf Club House. Each time I stumble upon this picture, a narrative other than that which describes the obvious pops up in my mind. 8 years later, my reaction to a picture that captured a lot more than that which might be obvious to the naked eye is still the same. Hence my decision to share!
What on the surface looks like a man, possibly a workshop facilitator, lending a hand to a workshop participant is, to me, a true reminder of how unstoppable one can be as they follow their bliss. In reality, this picture captures the esteemed Mr. Waldo Cabrera (also a professional Graphic Artist) who was on the scene to conduct an interview for his My Long Island TV Program in action. When Mr. Cabrera, without hesitation, picked up a linocut tool to assist a participant with carving out her design for printing, I knew he was the “Real McCoy”.
For, one thing I know about creatives is that they gravitate toward doing what they are cut out to do and to be with no hesitation – the facilitators of problem solving! I knew that 10 wild horses could not hold him back from giving of himself and subscribing to the solution of the moment. Assisting folks who had no prior knowledge of the print-making was an act of selflessness that will never be forgotten; particularly since Mr. Cabrera’s “job” was to conduct an interview and not to be a co-facilitator.
A Madonarism on Artists as the facilitators of problem solving
“This ‘making lemonade out of lemon’ frame of mind incidentally, keeps one grounded, relevant and empowered – even in times of adversity and in the presence of obstacles.”
I am proud to be a member of this creative solution-focused society, thank God! And yes, he still had time to conduct an exciting and informative interview which was aired on My Long Island TV. Thank you Waldo Cabrera for being your best self without even trying!
It was a pleasure facilitating four multicultural Textile Designing workshops for a total of approximately 100 middle school students at the Seneca Middle School Senecon Program.
I must note that these students comported themselves quite well, and showed much interest in the task at hand. It is little wonder that I felt like going back to the classroom full-time as a result of this experience. It was nostalgia all the way!
I promise that the sentiments expressed have NOTHING to do with the fact that I was literally treated like a celebrity by some students who asked for my autograph.
I congratulate the parents/guardians, teachers and administrators of the school for a job well done.
Madona Cole-Lacy shows students the result of Hand-stamping
Student applies fabric paint to West African Woodcut in preparation for stamping on fabric.
Hand-stamping demonstration for students by Madona Cole-Lacy
*Visit our website for more art-related cultural enrichment and personal development workshops for youth and adults that you can book for your parties, library, school or community organization. You can also request a private “Wear-Your-Art” or “Not Just Another Paint Party” activity for your next event.
Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed.
Designer of Wearable Art * Teaching Artist/Cultural Arts Educator * Motivational Presenter * Nonprofit Founder
I would like to share a press release and related pictures of an artistic expression which was designed and assembled in collaboration with students of Bellport High School through My Time Has Come Program.
The Coat of Many Cultures™ is a personal development artistic statement that is designed to reflect multicultural pride, self-esteem, respect and appreciation for self and others, and also to, celebrate the common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind – as experienced by all participants.
It is my hope that you will find a way to use the narrative that the Bellport High School Students I worked with have expressed through this Coat of Many Cultures™ to stimulate dialogue around cultural pride/identity and the visual arts through your network.
My Time Has Come Program offers youth and adults The Coat of Many Cultures™ Workshop as one way art and culture can be used as a confidence-building tool that fosters and celebrates multiculturalism, heightens awareness of diversity and promotes inclusion.
While this work of art is scheduled for permanent installation at the Bellport High School in the month of July, 2018, you are welcome to view and or photograph it at my showroom in North Bellmore. I may be reached through e-mail or my cell if you have any questions about the Coat of Many Cultures™ or My Time Has Come Program.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Madona Cole-Lacy My Time Has Come 516) 965-3242 firstname.lastname@example.org Long Island Teaching Artist and Students Connect the Dots of Multiculturalism and Inclusion with a Coat of Many Cultures™ (Bellmore, New York, March 28, 2018) Madona Cole-Lacy, Long Island Teaching Artist and Creative Director of My Time Has Come Program has collaborated with students of Bellport High School to create a Coat of Many Cultures™ that embraces and celebrates cultural heritage through art. The Bellport Coat of Many Cultures™ – a work of art funded by The South Country Education Foundation – will be on permanent display at the Bellport High School following installation in July 2018.
The giant Coat of Many Cultures™ depicts creative ways students have incorporated various aspects of their cultural identities in a series of theme-based textile designing and print-making workshops at the school. With a focus on heightening the students’ sense of pride, belonging and accomplishment, Mrs. Madona Cole-Lacy, motivated students to connect with their roots to create panels of original art inspired by their cultural heritage and countries of origin. These panels and elements of the artist’s own cultural heritage and her original textile art have formed the foundation of the work of art for students from Mrs. Barbara Gallagher’s art class and Mrs. Monica Tetuan’s ESL class in the residency.
The Coat of Many Cultures™ which is currently at the Artist’s showroom in Bellmore, New York, is scheduled for permanent installation at the Bellport High School in July 2018. “What is so exciting about designing a Coat of Many Cultures™ is my encounter with participants who have never given thought to the role art and culture play in their lives. To see them delve into the task at hand once they ‘get it’ is simply priceless! Another element of excitement for me is brought on by the anticipation of what each coat will look like. The enthusiasm and resulting work of my workshop participants determine the nature of the end product. It is an ongoing visual, emotional and cultural response to what they offer me that makes the creative expression authentic and satisfying.” -Madona Cole-Lacy-
Bellport High School Contact: Mrs. Barbara Gallagher BGallagher9@southcountry.org
About Madona Cole-Lacy Mrs. Cole-Lacy is a Teaching Artist registered with Eastern Suffolk and Nassau BOCES. She was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to parents who were instrumental in giving her a broad educational experience by making it possible for her to study art and design in both England and the United States. Madona Cole-Lacy takes full advantage of her multi-cultural and professional teaching experiences and skills gained from working with youth and adults in schools, colleges and communities to passionately motivate, educate and inspire her workshop participants as she acquaints them with a variety of art-making techniques.
Through My Time Has Come Program Madona Cole-Lacy uses “art, culture and education as a vehicle with which society can develop and maintain self-esteem, as well as, cultivate racial/ethnic and generational tolerance.”
“Our goal is to foster a sense of belonging, accomplishments and pride for all participants.” – Madona Cole-Lacy- My Time Has Come is the second “dot” of creativity in Madona Cole-Lacy’s quest to take ART and CREATIVITY beyond the confines of the studio to impact life in a number of positive ways through her concept “I Connect the Dots of Creativity”. Please visit: http://www.iconnectthedotsofcreativity.org for more on this philosophy.
My quest to contribute to the making of the world a smaller place took me to Bellport High School last week. It was a pleasure to meet and interact with a mix of multi-ethnic students with the express purpose of assisting them in identifying and celebrating their respective cultural heritage and family traditions in preparation for the designing and creation of their own uniqueCoat of Many CulturesTM (This project is funded by a grant from South Country Education Foundation to the school)
There were students who spoke with a great sense of confidence, others who, even though they did not say it, would have preferred to introduce themselves in terms of a subculture they had created or acquired that they were obviously comfortable with. Others appeared to be disconnected from their cultural background because “they were born here” and had not been exposed to “anything” “cultural. Whatever the case may be, I stay committed to my role in the lives of these students as we work diligently toward designing a coat that will not only speak to their identity for years to come, but will take them on a journey of self-empowerment and appreciation for their cultural heritage.
(Madona Cole-Lacy with Art Students at Bellport High School – Easing Into the Creative Process Through Engagement)
As I anticipate an unpredictable yet successful execution of these series of workshops which I facilitate in Long Island and beyond, I want to highlight a few points that I believe society can bear in mind as they nurture and empower their children particularly in times like these when teachers are reporting bully related incidents that are targeted at children who may not necessarily represent the race and cultural background of those who torment them.
1. If we instill a strong sense of belonging in our children, there will be no need to worry about them being victimized by others. There are no “others” in an all-inclusive world where people work together for the common good of humanity.
2. It is important to maintain family traditions that reinforce cultural values.
3. Parents should do an ancestry search, and share information about family heritage with their children.
4. We should research and/or review the history of our cultural/ethnic/racial/religious group, and hold family discussions regarding this background and how it currently impacts each family member.
5. Promote social studies and history education in schools that is fully inclusive of all ethnic, racial, religious and cultural groups. This should emphasize their values and contributions to humanity.
We can’t know where we’re going until we know who we are and where we as people have been or been through.
Learn more about my art-related personal development and social/cultural enrichment workshops tailored to schools and community organizations here.