In 2010 TMTTR was invited by the Art Program of the University of Maryland University College, located just outside Washington, DC, to stage a community program and exhibition for Fall, 2011. In response, TMTTR developed a multifaceted project involving professional poets, senior citizens, and young African-American boys.
For this project TMTTR partnered with two regional arts-related community service organizations: Arts For The Aging (AFTA), which provides older adults with arts experiences, and Life Pieces To Masterpieces (LPMP), which uses art as a means to foster the personal growth of at-risk African-American boys. Two well-established poets, Kim Roberts and Dan Vera, based in Washington, DC, were invited to conduct a series of 8 poetry workshops at AFTA and LPMP, with project artists in attendance. During the workshops, which began in January, 2011, the older and younger participants created poetry which referenced water.
In May, 2011, each of the 18 visual artists participating in the project was given a poem which had been created in the workshops. The poems served as an inspiration, or point of departure, for the artists in the creation of a work of art. The two poets also contributed poems.
As with all TMTTR projects, several regional artists were invited to join the permanent artist members of TMTTR for the project. Five artists living in the Washington, DC, region were invited; these artists were originally from Chile, China, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, an artist from France was invited to participate.
The artists created their work with whatever media they wished, which included oil, and acrylic paint, drawing, photography, digital imagery, glass, and collage. All the work was then converted to large-scale digital prints, providing a unity to the presentation of the work. For the exhibition, the poems were displayed next to their respective artwork. The exhibition also included paintings on the theme of water by the young workshop participants from Life Pieces To Masterpieces. The exhibition opened in November, 2011.
The project received significant media coverage, including a major article in the Washington Post.
In March, 2009,TMTTR partnered with the Turkish arts organization Tutun Deposu to stage an exhibition at DEPO Gallery and conduct a community event in Istanbul. As this TMTTR project was an official part of the 5th World Water Forum being held in Istanbul at the same time, TMTTR staged a one-day event with Istanbul schoolchildren which reflected various themes associated with the World Water Forum. On the day of the exhibition opening over 100 neighborhood schoolchildren gathered outside the gallery. The children were told about basic issues concerning water in easily understood terms, and given leaflets about water issues to distribute to adults in the neighborhood. After this, with music provided by Turkish musicians, a piece of blue transparent fabric, 15 meters in length, was brought out.The schoolchildren created a line under the blue fabric and then marched through their neighborhood as a “flowing river.”
From September to December 2006, Take Me To The River was featured at the Wichita Falls Art Museum in Wichita Falls, Texas. Sixteen TMTTR artists exhibited their work, along with three invited artists from the Wichita Falls area. Due to enormous publicity and extensive media coverage (including television interviews and newspaper articles), the exhibition’s opening ceremony was a huge community event—the largest in the museum’s history.
One week before the exhibtion opening, nine TMTTR artists traveled to Wichita Falls to stage a community outreach education program. In partnership with the museum and the Wichita Falls School District the TMTTR artists conducted art workshops with 250 students, ranging in age from eight to eighteen, at ten different primary and secondary schools. The students designed and assembled sculptural vessels that reflected their cultural heritage and these pieces were placed on display within the Museum’s TMTTR exhibition. A Family Day celebration was hosted by the museum, which drew an even larger crowd to the museum than the opening night reception, thus broadening the museum’s outreach and attendance goals. Media coverage for this community outreach education program was also very extensive.
Artists participating in this exhibition included John H. Brown, Jr., David Carlson, Y. David Chung, Richard L. Dana, Sherman Fleming, Ashraf Fouad, Abrie Fourie, B. C. Gilbert, Mansoora Hassan, Suguru Hiraide, Judy Jashinsky, Maggie Michael, Randall Packer, Ivana Panizzi, José Ruiz, Ruza Spak, Betsy Stewart, Andres E. Tremols, and Liz Yarosz-Ash.
In addition, special acknowledgments to: Aisha D. Davis of DESHO Productions, Vivo Design, Inc., Mona 21, Ruth Compton, David Jacobs, Karen Price Ward, Dr. Jesse Rogers, Cohn and Cathy Drennan, the staff of WFMA, Danny Bills, Jeff Desborough, Shirley Desborough, Mary Helen Maskill, and Doris Thornburg.
Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, 2 Eureka Circle, Wichita Falls, Texas
There is no admission charge for the museum or this exhibition