The MMIA members decided that we not only wanted to participate in gallery shows, but that we wanted to give back to our community. Jeanne Brice one of our members was involved with Second Life, a non-profit organization committed to fighting human trafficking. Second Life was in the process of establishing a safe house for rescued victims, and we decided to provide a work of art to hang on the wall.
As we brainstormed, the idea of creating a tryptic with collage materials and paint became our focus. The concept of starting with darkness and despair, evolving into lighter and more hopeful colors, and ending with a riot of colorful flowers, butterflies with a transformative, optimistic outlook. It was a perfect metaphor for the young women who are on the journey of recovery.
Tony Mines, owner of Art Creations, where we take art classes from Sandra Paynter Washburn, donated three large canvasses, and other art supplies, as well as letting us use his facility, free of charge. After determining the compositional format, we divided our group among the three canvasses, and using handmade deli papers, started the collage process.
The one constant image in all three canvases was the thistle. It is a fact that thistles can push up through asphalt, so in the dark, gritty street scene, we see the thistle emerging from the asphalt cracks. In the second canvas, the thistle is twining through the lighter collage elements, and finally blooms profusely in the final triumphant scene.
The final touches, painted by Lorraine Perkins, identified the triptych as an image of Chattanooga, with the iconic aquarium roof, and a bridge connecting two of the canvases.
We presented our labor of love to Second Life at their annual UNITE WEAR WHITE meeting. A lovely article, written by Mark Kennedy, appeared in our local paper with a color photo of the completed work.
The Mixed Media Inspired Artist group has chosen the non-profit organization SPLASH, to support for our second annual community involvement project.
SPLASH is a 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to providing free art classes to children in underserved communities in Chattanooga. The age range of students is from 4-17. Founded by Charlie Newton, a local African American MFA artist, Iantha, and his artist wife Iantha, who both have works displayed worldwide, want to engage the children before they get swept up in gang and negative activities. Their mission statement is:"to create a safe, professional art studio environment for young artists, including urban, rural, low-income and disadvantaged at-risk youth to grow and express themselves through fine art." Charlie's words, reveal his wonderful spirit: "we see them as young artists and believe they can do anything, and we are expecting them to create great works of art. Their social economic status should not determine how they experience life."
Presently, our members have donated personal funds to help purchase materials for the summer program. We will continue to seek grants, procure free art supplies from various businesses and art supply companies, and provide food for the many snacks and meals that the Newtons provide for their burgeoning artists. The Newtons live at or below the poverty level, because they sacrifice their own comforts and choose to provide food, snacks, art materials, guidance and personal attention to the children of their community.
We are proud to be associated with these fine people, and their amazing contribution to our community.
MMIA's Get Involved
In 2018, the Hart Gallery, which is located on Main Street on the Southside, was chosen to partner with the MMIA's. Mindy Kelly is the executive director of Hart Gallery where homeless, disabled, and economically disadvantaged individuals are served at this unique business. MMIA members have provided materials and teaching assistance to the individuals who attend art classes there. They also presented a painting by one of the students to a prison ministry executive and have attended several of their showings.
In addition to supporting the Hart Gallery, MMIA members have continued to support SPLASH through monetary donations, gifts, dinners, and attendance of events they sponsored.