Artist Residencies

Where I’ve Been & Where I’m Going: Elder Stories from the South engages African American, immigrant, and refugee elders in literary and fiber arts residencies with professional teaching artists Howard Craft and Jan-Ru Wan.

Beginning in Winter 2015, this 2-part residency series will consist of memoir and poetry writing classes followed by fiber arts classes. Craft will engage participants in writing exercises to find themes, meaning and emotion related to personal life experiences. They will be encouraged to write about cultural traditions from both early childhood and today, and discuss how these relate to living in the south. Participants will also be encouraged to write about their “bucket list” and dreams for the future.

Following the writing series, Wan will begin working with the same older adults to guide them through a fiber arts residency. They will focus on re-using old clothes to create new fashions utilizing the stories and poems from their written work. Participants will explore their creative abilities and learn about design, stenciling, screen printing, stitching and sewing as well as ways to create a “re-use” community. Old clothing often becomes the object of one’s past identity, memory and culture. Through altering and recreating clothing that was once treasured, elders can breathe new life into old apparel and discover a new channel for creative self-expression.

The project will culminate with a public presentation by the elder artists scheduled during the month of May as part of the CAN-NC Arts Festival.

NCAC_LogoColor_smlThis project received funding from the North Carolina Arts Council.





Memory Book Making by refugee and immigrant elders with professional teaching artist Betsy Renfrew.

Beginning in Winter 2015, this project will foster life-long learning and cultural diversity through a visual arts residency  culminating in an exhibition and reception. Renfrew will engage the older adults in learner-centered arts education and meaningful activities that draw upon their life experience and culture.  Participants will engage in paper- and book-making, as well as storytelling using visual images.  Once the participants have finished creating their books, Renfrew will bring baskets, dried plant parts (seeds, cotton bolls, dried herbs, taro roots, cinnamon, etc.), weaving, photographs, and books that focus on  culture to prompt open discussion. Participants will illustrate the pages of their books with drawings, collage, pictures, and/or words to record these memories. Writing may be done in English, their native language, or a combination.

The project culmination will be a public exhibition and reception scheduled during the month of May as part of the CAN-NC Arts Festival.

Financial support for this project provided by ArtsGreensboro.

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