Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Attitude is Everything

As usual I've worked my you know what off promoting a community arts center for this little spot on the Michigan map. I've talked to anyone and everyone who will give me the time; attended a few meetings to share my plans for 5-10 minutes; received two sizable donations of supplies (wonderful, wonderful & thank you all around); and created a Facebook page where people post pictures of their work, encourage one another and share ideas.

Remember, I'm cash strapped and have no rich uncle nor lottery winnings. Add a lousy economy and the usual problems dragging people down and you know what you get - apathy.

But, I have determination, attitude, and talent. Right now those qualities count for a whole lot of people waiting to see me fail. As one wizard put it: "your idea will float down the river with the rest of the garbage." Thank you jackass, you've inspired a collage.

This Saturday I scheduled a FREE collage class at the local library for ages 8-14. Advertised that they either call or come into the library to register. One person called and asked why someone would do such a thing. One friend is bringing two grandkids - from a community 18 miles away. One friend is sending her daughter whose artistic talent knocks me over. Her home is four blocks from the library.

So I've prepared for 10 students and may have three. Maybe more and maybe less.

I've attracted enough attention and talk that a couple messages have been left on two fliers. Not nice ones.

I've been invited to join the library board from which four representatives have resigned in two months. The eight member library board has never had full membership. NEVER.

Yet anywhere one goes you hear the same refraim: "There's nothing to do here for the kids."

"There's no money." (while they hoist two 12 packs of Budweiser into their truck bed and stash a fifth of whiskey beneath the seat - I kid you not.

A local pastor offered space in the church annex to hold classes. I met him and toured the facility. It's fabulous. The youth group band has produced its own CD and financed its a trip to a competition/workshop out of state. Their 4 p.m. Sunday youth service attracts 60-70 kids. The church has 12 members!!!!!!!! So the impossible can happen here.

Is there a need for activity and role models in these twin communities? You bet. Do any of the locals exercise their gray matter and participate, plan or donate to any cause to change attitudes here? RARELY ever.

The pastor pointed out three projects/groups in the area: the Lions Club (all members from outside the villages except two people); VFW (ONE person put one brick in a Veterans Memorial while people from OUTSIDE the area paid for it, built it and commemorated it!). The church held a FREE spaghetti supper. NO ONE came!!!

I'd like to kick some ass and bash in a few heads.

But, I'll calm down, put a smile on my face and continue with my campaign. If half a dozen people (irregardless of age) join me in this journey then it will be worth it. And the rest of them? They're the losers.


Sixbears said...

Fight the good fight Treesong. May all go well. The human soul needs art.

We Call Her Momma said...

Thought I'd leave some advertising suggestions:

1. Post on Craigslist in the Community , Events, Free, Arts & Crafts, and Wanted sections.

2. Call or drop by the schools and speak with the arts teacher. Find out if you can post a flyer* on their bulletin boards.

3. Ask merchants to post a flyer in their windows. Include the thrift stores.

4. If your local paper has an event section ask them to list it.

5. If your local radio station has community announcements ask them to announce it.

6. Facebook, Twitter. Not only people pages but community pages.

7. Does your library have a bulletin board or white board at the front door. Put a flyer on bulletin board. Have library write "Upcoming events" on their white board and list your class.

8. Have library pass out a small announcement paper every time someone checks out a book. The paper can be shaped like a bookmark (6-8 per sheet of paper) or rectangles (6-8 per sheet of paper.)

9. Contact church pastors and youth ministers (Awanas).

10. Get included in the Continuing Education/Community Education catalog, if available.

Remember the saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. (Never fully realized the meaning of the saying until I had horses.)

Good luck Treesong.

* Flyers can be as simple as handwriting with a thick black ink marker. Maybe include a small collage on it. Print up on B/W to save cost. Maybe the library will make copies since it's promoting the library also.

Susan said...

I am attending a free jewelry making class at our library tomorrow night, with my daughter. There are many different classes there, free, and they usually fill up fast. I am really dumbfounded with the attitude you have run into. GOOD LUCK!!


treesong said...

Thanks all for your comments.

I've already done every think suggested by We Call Her Momma except for the radio spot.

This area is a real hard nut to crack but there are people who want it to shatter.

Today I met for three hours with a woman who operates a non-profit nearby. Her real talent is in bringing people together. She's also the leader of our library writing group and well versed in the attitude here. After hearing how long it took to start the writing group - originally planned for another community where she lives - I knew that with her help I could make progress.

In three weeks we're offering a brain storming meeting at the library for anyone interested in my concept. No election of officer or forming a non-profit or asking for money. Just talking, generating suggestions, asking what people want and who they know who may be interested in helping.

This woman is an excellent facilitator and that will be her role at the meeting. She already has a track record here and the respect and familiarity with lots of local residents.

So, though I was discouraged yesterday, I knew it would pass. And it's always darkest before the dawn. Today was the dawn. The meeting will be the sunrise in all its glory. I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

.you have the will to do it. B.