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.
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!
Silk Scarf designed by facilitator at Wear Your Art Workshop
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 villagersof 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!
Proudly wearing his art: I am proud of him too!
Thank you for offering to help carry my supplies container to the car.
To request My Time Has Come Program workshops for your library, school or community organization, please contact us by filling out our website request form or, email the teaching artist directly.
My Time Has Come Program
Promotestolerance 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, “Whyshould 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.
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: AnAfrican-Inspired textile designing workshop.
As we enter 2013 with great expectations that everything we touch will turn into gold, and that all that we wish for will be manifested tenfold, we pray that we can muster the courage, strength and determination to position ourselves within the space of the brand new year to fully experience a Happy New Year.
Our wish for you is that you find a way to totally embrace the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all that you see, you think, you feel and do.
“Thank you” is in order for those of you who utilized our services and products last year. We also thank members of the Long Island community, as well as Mr. Devon Harris, who donated much appreciated time and resources to support our community service initiatives. We thank you for your commitment to our youth and families. With heavy hearts, we must recognize our staunch supporter, the late Dr. Gary Rachlin of Advanced Family Medicine — a healer of body and spirit, whose legacy we know will forever dwell in the heart of everyone he served. ~ R.I.P ~
In 2013, we are looking forward to increasing our Madona Cole Originals Free Dignity Enhancement service and expanding our collection of hand-crafted head wear and accessories. Through this service, we pride ourselves with addressing the fashion needs of all women and girls, with a special focus on those who are hospitalized or experiencing hair-loss as a result of chemotherapy and alopecia.
We will continue to provide My Time Has Come solid art-related social and cultural enrichment workshops on a consultancy basis for libraries, schools and community organizations.
As we work towards providing Long Island youth and parents with tools for navigating the challenges of life in the 21st Century, we invite you to support the efforts of the newly established non-profit organization, Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc., in your own way.