In between our larger group meetings, Dan and Rosanne have been meeting with various organizations in town to share the idea and get feedback. Here are some notes from those meetings:
7-19-07 Marjorie Kaiser, Superintendent for the School for the blind and visually impaired.
Marje expressed some of the challenges that her students face in experiencing art, since much of art in museums, businesses, etc. is visual and people are not allowed to touch/taste/etc many pieces of art. Students need to be able to have a direct connection to the artwork in some way instead of relying on someone else’s description. Doing is vital.
She expressed how art is a common denominator that helps the community see value in the artists whereas they might not have contact with them otherwise. It’s is good to value all as contributors. Also, she talked about how creative experience is important for people to discover themselves as well as to connect with others in the community.
She gave some ideas for programs that we could use/do/expand upon: Have a performance, show or dinner in the dark so that all attendees have to creatively use their other senses, do an art show(possibly along with some sort of performing arts) featuring the art of blind students, work on poetry, work with art mentors and have regular classes or art nights.
She is excited to work with us, and mentioned options for funding as well as other organizations who might be good resources.
8-2-07 Shari Phillips, Director of the Aberdeen Senior Center
Shari talked a lot about collaboration and coordination and sees the Fallout as doing those things for Aberdeen. One of her concerns for her center after the flooding issues they’ve faced is that she doesn’t want the members to become so used to fewer activities that they become isolated, and we discussed how we want to help bring people into the community and support each other so that we don’t have to be isolated.
She gave us some ideas for bringing together different senior center groups for some collaborative art experiences such as music and art lessons at the different centers. She is going to mention our organization to the other centers around town and talk with her activities director Kay Hohenecker about other possibilities for programs with us. She wants to collaborate with us, and she gave us other contacts such as the Gerontology department at NSU.
8-13-07 Eric Vetter, Opportunities for Independent Living
Eric was enthusiastic about the vision and the ideas that we have so far. He talked about some that he knows who subconsciously tend to isolate themselves because of some limitation they may have, so there is a need to seek them out and provide creative opportunities that they may share their gifts and talents and create with others.
Eric also connected us with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and put us on the agenda for their meeting. He also talked a little bit about accessibility with our events and meetings, which was very helpful.
8-14-07 Laura Boone, North Eastern Mental Health Center Administrator
Laura was very excited about the non-profit and eager to help in any way. She talked about the struggle of incorporating individuals who are labeled in various ways into the community at large without that community further labeling or withdrawing from those individuals because of stigmas. She thinks would be a good support to what they are trying to do with the people they serve.
Laura also gave us contacts with the Friends Program to get that community involved in our events and planning as well as contacts with the Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity group.
8-14-07 Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities
We met with this group and shared the idea with them. Many of the members asked more about the history as well as the guys’/girls’ houses and their purpose. We received contact information from each of them as well as some positive feedback and ideas for events/programs.
One woman even said, “I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this in Aberdeen.”
All of our meetings so far with individuals and groups have been very positive and encouraging! If you’d like to go to any of these meetings with us, please let us know!