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Studio Challenge

It’s hard to do new things. Almost always. But sometimes it’s also pretty hard to sit around tapping your fingers against whatever surface you have been sitting at for an hour, utterly bored, thinking about all of the awesome things you could be doing (making) instead. So, you push yourself into something new. And maybe it’s difficult and you’re not sure how you feel about it at the beginning, but then something great happens.

On January 28th we decided to try something new. Way, way new: silence. We had our first ever studio-wide Challenge Day. We started by getting to know each other’s names courtesy of STAB. Next, studio alumni’s opened their own histories to new students in some intense storytelling circles. They shared their experience of crossing the street from school to our community art studio.

And then, the unprecendented happened: we were silent for one hour. And we made stuff. Amazing, beautiful, wing-beating things. Poems, drawings, secret collages that fleshed out our own wishes and thoughts in a safe space, representations of our hearts connected by twinkling lights, and we had a conversation about New Urban Arts on the wall. It was amazing. 

Sure, there was a box drawn on the floor that you could talk inside and sure you could say the safe word:Marshmallow. But in that strange clipping of scissors, occasional yelps of surprise or encouragement, and murmurs of “marshmallow”, there was a sense of newness, bravery, and excitement that felt, well, the opposite of boring!

View more photos here.

We wanted to share about this first Studio Challenge Day held in the winter, because all spring it sparked plotting and planning for more Studio Challenges which are now around the corner as we say hello to start of May this weekend:

Art Crit, Wed May 4 
Open Mic, Thurs May 5 
Bookclub, Thursdays
How to Fair, Sat May 7 from 1-5pm (open to the public)
Spirit Day, May 11 (tentative date)
Breaking Out, Friday the 13th

Photo by Jesse Banks III
Written Reflection by artist mentor Alice Costas