Reaching Community through Art: The Gaining Ground Project Change Arts Showcase
On Thursday, June 30th, a community of next-generation artists joined together through the efforts of Gaining Ground for the Project Change Arts Showcase at Guthrie Green in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gaining Ground, a non-profit literacy organization, represents a mission “to develop readers, thinkers, and leaders by providing families with engaging literacy experiences and access to high-interest, culturally responsive books.”
Project Change is one of their most recent efforts launched this summer. The program gathered over 200 students across six schools to learn
about the arts through reading books, visiting local museums and art galleries, and taking classes from local creatives.
For this final showcase, community members were welcomed to celebrate the art and performances of the young local students. The event displayed the children’s beautiful artworks under the cooling shade of outdoor arches, which allowed guests to take a moment’s pause under the morning sun to admire a myriad of paintings, sculptures, and other spectacular creative works.
Each artwork was accompanied by a small description—featuring the artist’s name, school, age, and title of the piece. After enjoying the delightful artistic collections, guests were encouraged to partake in some light refreshments and view students’ live stage performances, featuring both music and dance.
“How do the arts impact my community and me?” This was the overarching question that students were challenged to answer during their experience with Project Change.
And, their answers were provided in full display during the showcase. Student artworks featured popular video games, cartoon characters, celebrities, nature, slogans, messages, family and friends, one-of-a-kind hand prints, various patterns, and a rainbow of colors. Art was able to empower Tulsa’s Project Change students to express themselves and their diverse interests, personalities, and values. Moreover, just as the showcase gave a spotlight to each artist as an individual, it was clear—from the smiling faces, bright laughter, and big crowd—that it also brought together a community.
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How Does Art Impact You?
In this way, the missions of both Budget Collector and the Project Change Arts Showcase intersect. Using the Budget Collector app, art-loving individuals can be empowered to support and champion art that speaks to the unique voices of a diverse world. While attending the showcase, Budget Collector invited guests to share their opinions on one piece of artwork—a striking piece named Study for “Guard of the Harem” by artist Frank Duveneck—featured on our AI Art Advisor mobile app.
The piece, an 1879 oil painting on canvas, is a portrait of a lone guard outside the harem quarters of the king of the Ottoman Empire. The guard’s eyes linger just outside the painting’s frame, which leaves room for some interesting interpretations. One couple had differing opinions on what lies behind the guard’s eyes. “I don’t think it means anything,” the woman said. “It’s an image of a strong, loyal, and confident man.” However, the man felt differently about the guard posted by the harem’s door. “I think he’s definitely single.”
Most guests were enthralled by work; the rating for the artwork averaged a five out of five stars. Guests were then asked whether the artwork would be most suited for a museum, home, or office—or if they wouldn’t want to see this particular artwork in any context. Most people were eager to have the artwork in their homes. “It’s a beautiful piece,” One guest said, gesturing at the brushstrokes. “I would obviously be lucky if I could put this in my home.”
Project Change is just one of the many inspiring initiatives that encourage the growth and recognition of artists within a local community. Budget Collector works to broaden artists’ reach both online and in-person, creating an accessible platform and community where all art-lovers can collect, discuss, and engage with art.
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