A month or so ago I decided to act. I had had enough of the political shenanigans, civil unrest, and the mean spirited and vile actions from our nation’s supposed leaders. The events of Charlottesville were the final straw. I needed to do something. Something that would bring people together.
Over the course of a few weeks in September, I started bouncing around the idea of doing some sort of fundraiser thing, supporting some sort of organization or other that is working to counteract Trump’s policies. I chatted with a few of my pottery colleagues, an artist and a pub owner. We thought we might be able to make 100 ceramic vessels, and maybe we could round up 30 or so artists to paint them and then maybe we could donate the money to the Berkshire Immigrant Center. So, we set off.
We wondered about whether we could really sell 100 mugs at $100 dollars, whether the artists we asked to participate would say yes, whether these artists would be able to apply their skills to a new medium, whether we could make it work. We gave it a shot.
The response to our initiative has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic on all fronts. Currently, there are over 60 artists on the slate from Massachusetts, Vermont and New York with more asking to be involved. We’ve held vessel painting sessions that turned into a sort of art therapy. We’ve met so many new friends and have learned from each other. We’ve been inspired by the creativity, the generosity, the devotion and the spirit of those who have participated and supported our project. And already, we are chattering about something bigger and better for the future.
Our final step is to host an event where those who have made their donation will come and take home one of the ‘vessels for change’. These vessels will speak of the hands of those who crafted them, of those who painted them, and of all of the people who supported this effort. They will, especially, embody hope for our immigrant community. Like people, the vessels are elegant, humorous, sophisticated, wonky, bold, subtle, tall, short, wide, thin, delicate, rough, and flawed. But, all will be loved.
We will have raised more than $10,000 for the Berkshire Immigrant Center but we are also forging new bonds within our community. For both of these reasons, I am brimming with gratitude.