When asked to join the selection committee Michelle Perry, the Catholic Charities Adult Basic Education Program Coordinator, shared that she was “so excited about the opportunity to bring more beauty into our work space. It reminded me of a quote that I heard years ago: ‘…because art is never a luxury.’ I was pleasantly surprised to find the art was donated by talented and charitable artists, and, that we get the keep the selected art in our building! It was so refreshing to take a break from the work of serving people in crisis, to enjoy the works of art being donated.”
Catholic Charities Deputy Director, Stephen Fulton, reached out to receive art from The Art Connection in October for the Yawkey Konbit Kreyol Center for Early Education and Care in Dorchester. Three of the many programs housed there include:
- An Adult Education Program that serves over 300 adult students a year by providing career plans, and GED training programs.
- A Youth Program that serves children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old with full day care.
- And a Food Pantry that provides over 20,000 lbs of food to individuals and families each week.
The Selection and Placement Process
Thanks to a spirited selection committee of Catholic Charities staff and clients, artists Mike Ritter, Judy Silverstein, and Nan Tull rounded out the 27 paintings, drawings, and photos that will find a home in their common spaces.
“We have found the most satisfying part of the selection process was the overall ease, uncomplicated application, the helpful Art Connection staff, the engaging selection session and detailed step by step guide that allowed us to successfully procure beautiful pieces stress free. At times there seemed to be insurmountable impasses, but in the end we emerged a strong, happy team proud of our collaborative selections,” explains Stephen.
Expanding the partnership
Acquiring a permanent donation of artworks via our Placement Program was just the beginning of Catholic Charities spreading the power of art to all levels of their organization. As a result of their enthusiasm, they hired us to facilitate an “Artful Seeds” teambuilding workshop in early December. Catholic Charities staff had the opportunity to use mindfulness exercises and painting to reflect on the successes of the past year and goals for the future.
“Clients, staff and volunteers who participated have not stopped buzzing about the finished product. The places where the donations have been displayed have now become gathering places. They stir conversations and promote pride in their surroundings,” says Stephen. “And the team building session was so successful that many staff in attendance have asked when are we going to repeat the activity. Several of the Greater Boston programs – shelters, peer support, childcare – are discussing the best options to implement the Artful Seeds Workshops for their clients.”
When thinking about the impact this partnership has made thus far, Stephen credits The Art Connection for leaving his staff “with the belief that the beauty and power of art transports the viewer from their chaotic and fragmented life to a place of balance. We know the art pieces will assist in our staff’s mission to provide dignity, mercy, kindness, and respect to each individual we serve.”
To find out more about how Catholic Charities serves nearly 200,000 individuals and families within MA visit their website: http://www.ccab.org/