Monday, March 29, 2010

Lord Have Mercy

I am working with Hidden Voices on a project focusing on homelessness. I just spent the day with six of the rudest, most disrespectful, angriest teenage boys and girls I have ever met. They did not want to be there. It was Spring Break and they were ordered by the court to be with us for the afternoon. Ordered there because of things like hitting teachers, going after another student with a knife, drugs, you know the usual things seventeen year olds are doing to pass time in school (not!). I forget there are kids like this out there. My kid wants to be with me, she has respect for others, compassion and goals. What is going to happen to these kids? I loved them, they are so raw and honest, and so sad in so many ways. What is WRONG with parents. Teach you children well, people!!!!!!! So anyway, our project with them was to build a "house" that told us who they are, past in the attic, present in the middle and future on the ground floor. It's really interesting to watch this process, and I'm sure these kids are going to be on my mind for awhile now. Here is the thing, a lot of the community service they have to do is cleaning, picking up trash in ditches, things that are punishment because of what they did, like being ordered there by the court, because a teacher pressed charges, because they got hit. Well, wouldn't you press charges? These are kids.Why can't they be shown a better way, instead of making them do something that is just going to piss them off more, teach them about something better to strive towards, something they might actually like to do and want to do more of. This system we have is so F'd up. Here is a bit more about the project, the show will be April 9 at the Artscenter in Carrboro if you want to come. No charge but kind donations are welcome! You can go to Hidden to read more about the project:

Home Is Not One Story debuts in April 2010, with writings, photography, performances, and video created by members of these communities, as well as a digital audio and print tour, exhibit, public video display, and school curriculum guide for implementing a focus on home and homelessness.
Home Is Not One Story is a community-based project highlighting stories from those who have experienced homelessness in North Carolina. The project gives voice to residents who have experienced episodic, as well as chronic, homelessness. Whether we call it housing displacement, housing crisis, or housing transition, homelessness can deprive us of the basic physical and emotional space needed to create and sustain personal dignity. Home Is Not One Story explores the challenges faced by those in transient housing, including motels and campgrounds; the chronically homeless; those escaping domestic and family violence; homeless women veterans; families in long-term shelter housing; foster children and young adults in and aging out of the support system; immigrants and refugees; LGBTQ teens in housing crisis; and the “hidden” homeless, who find shelter where they can but who lack a stable residence. These individuals and families have much to communicate about identity, place, and access. They have much to teach us about survival, flexibility, and the power of home. They have much to say.


Dirt-Kicker Pottery said...

Hi Tracy, It sounds like you're involved in some pretty cool stuff.

Nu Kua said...

Hi Tracy,
I couldn't agree with you more!
The system in The Netherlands seems to work the same way, punish the kids until the're so pissed of and feel so rejected and bad about themselfs that they feel like there's no other way then to go 'against the rules' again and again.
Let's teach these kids self-empowerment and give them the tools to create a better future for themselfs if their parents cannot do that for them, instead of putting them down every time the do something 'wrong' in the eyes of society.
As an art therapist I LOVE what you did with them!!!
Those kids were lucky to have spent an afternoon with you.



Anonymous said...

damn, it's sad about these kids. we've been watching "the wire" (renting it) all 5 seasons. it is a wakeup call and should be mandatory viewing. the state of those kids' lives is deplorable beyond description. good to know that at least they got to run into someone like you

Trish said...

Hi Tracey...yes, tough for 'those kids'..I am sure you sparked a little light in each of them which will have great potential to grow.
have a good day. T.

cindy shake said...

wow. so sad to hear about young lives so goofed up. What a cool project though! Great theme too -I hope art was able to ignite at least a flicker of hope for those young people... it can be very difficult to "re-set" a young person's compass if all they've know is disfunction. Unfortunately there are so many young people whose parents have substance abuse issues that they have no ability or desire to "raise" them -even at the lowest standards...

Hollis Engley said...

That's a tough job, Tracey. Good for you for taking it on. It's awfully hard to change the direction of kids like that after their parents have spent years creating them.

cookingwithgas said...

The houses are great.
And yet those kids learned their ways from someone- or maybe had to learn it on their own.
Sad but true-
You are the best though! I am amazed at what you take on.
You are an inspiration!

Nu Kua said...

Hi Tracy,

Thanks for adding my blog to your bloglist! I've added your blog to mine.. :-)

If you would like to make a drum just ask away! I've been making Udu drums and doumbeks for a while so maybe i can help. (Udu drums are only clay, doumbeks have a skinhead)
If you want a good book about musical instruments made of clay (even a saxophone or a guitar!) you should get a copy of " From mud to music" by Barry Hall. It's sort of my bible.... hehe
Read and be amazed!!! it also has a cd with music-samples of a lot of the instruments in the book.

Travis said...

Tracey, Hey this looks like an amazing project. I am going to have to pay it a visit if I can.

Hey, I have just started a similar blog to yours, to chronical my own occassional forays into art education. Its pretty measly so far, but I have put a link to yours on it, I hope you don't mind.

Hope to run into you some time.
Travis, Ana's friend.

Liz said...

What a great project! I love it when artists involve themselves with projects like this.Those kids need an outlet, a place to be, and respect. I have been mulling over ideas for working with kids on the edge for a few years now, and trying to connect with people locally who want to do the same. Its inspiring to see what you are doing.