Wednesday, January 9, 2013

report 2011/12

Report from Free Columbia The 2011-12 year of Free Columbia was very active. Eleven full time students finished the program of painting, drawing and puppetry in June with an exhibit of the year’s work held at a space next to the Family Dollar store in Philmont, NY. This exhibit in the middle of the town was reflective of our year which saw us moving out into the world around us. Beside our 11 full time students, 10 people participated part time, approximately 50 people took summer courses and another 150 attended evening lectures and events. Our summer conference, concerned with artistic experience and the future of art, was held at the Basilica Hudson in Hudson NY and was attended by 45 people from many countries including Finland, Israel, Italy and France. In May we held our first Art Dispersal, inviting people to become stewards of original art, to take it home and live with it for an unspecified time. We dispersed 120 paintings both locally and to people who will take them all over the world. Our puppet show of Rip Van Winkle using 10 foot tall puppets was shown at the public school to over 1200 children as well as outdoor performances in the Philmont Village Green. Like a little boat crafted at home, Free Columbia is beginning its journey into the world. Our vision for a community supported, accessible to all arts initiative really landed in the third year. Our $69,029 in expenses was covered by $69,937 in donations by individuals and organizations who believe in and support what we are doing. All of our activities were accessible regardless of a person’s financial situation. Sometimes the funding ran disconcertingly low but we sent out appeals, traveled to give courses in other areas, organized events and the funding came in each time. This approach is often challenging, sometimes unnerving, but the benefits of offering artistic work without financial restrictions is overwhelmingly inspiring and productive. In September we started our fourth year with six fulltime and ten part time students. Next year, 2013/14, Free Columbia will offer two separate full time programs, a 8 month course of painting and a 4 month apprenticeship in puppetry. if you are interested in participating you may contact us at Thanks to all of you who through you understanding and support are making this work possible. Laura Summer Nathaniel Williams Here are some words from our students: Free Columbia taught me to really step back and listen to what the colors on the page are saying instead of projecting myself onto them. This simple lesson can be applied to every aspect of life. Kim O’Keefe As a class teacher on sabbatical it was so exciting to find a painting course working out of anthroposophy. I thought I had come to learn about that but I discovered that through the artistic exercises and endeavors I was learning to be. Beyond a sensitivity to color, learning to paint is a practice in developing courage. Christine Cassagnau Thank you for having faith. To me this has been an education in what it is to be human. It has given me insight into how to go forward into the world in a true way. Laurel Iselin My year in the Free Columbia Art Course gave me the insight I needed to pursue the journey into “the heart of artistic action” on my own as an individual artist, and the longing to forge artistic community relationships wherever I go. I remain connected to the ideals that gave rise to this inspiring art course, and am committed to supporting future Free Columbia students. Victoria Temple From Art Dispersal Thanks a million. I love looking at the piece every day. A lovely total experience – thank you Beginning – not knowing what was happening, middle – it’s working!!! End – a totally satisfying experience, new, social, surprising…making people so happy. This is amazing! we love being able to own original art. Thank you! The one who gives receives! Awesome IDEA, Awesome Reality. I love this new impulse. It may not be realized in our time but it is important to support it. Revolutionary! thank you for inspiring creativity.

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