community projects

Working in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer after I completed my science degree shaped my artistic career. I was fortunate enough to work in a village of artisans and basket weavers. This experience of creating artwork within a community showed me what a powerful force art has on people. It breaks down cross-cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic barriers. Whenever possible, I use this knowledge in my large installations and public works.

I am passionate about involving the public in the art process through my community-built public works of art, which instill a sense of pride and ownership. I thrive on demystifying art and in watching people of all ages and experiences find the confidence within themselves to create and share their life stories with others. I included community participation in my Spokane murals project, "Onward and Upward" and "Confluence". In addition, I was involved with "La Selva" community mosaic project in January of 2013. This was organized by Eco Teach and the Global Mosaic Project run by Laurel True. Seven artists from across the United States worked as facilitators and fabricators for a mural mosaic at a community health center in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. We worked with local volunteers (15-20 community members) to create this large 18 foot by 80 foot long mural. The mural depicted a mother and child at the center, large green protective hands below for the spirit of the forest, and tropical flowers as well as the volcano in the background. I am still in contact with many of the Costa Rican volunteers who have gone on to create many of their own murals around and outside of La Fortuna.

I recently completed a 1% for Art project in Aurora Elementary School on JBER military base outside of Anchorage, AK. It is titled "Wild Aurora". I was the only one out of 80 submissions who volunteered to work with the children as part of the project. For me, community participation in a public project is my favorite part! JBER is surrounded by Alaskan wilderness and has many wildlife species. I incorporated these animals along with the school colors and bald eagle mascot. The borders have blue ribbons in the corners as Aurora Elementary has been chosen a blue ribbon school for academic excellence. I also used a Yupik basket design as 60% of the school population is native Yupik. The children, coming from a military background, were incredibly diverse in their ethnicity. Some did not speak English well. I worked with all 250 children of the school for three days. We worked on drawing and designing, imagination, textures, colors and patterns. I brought over 80 carved wooden cutouts of wildflowers and fish. The children helped embellish these pieces with paint and glass. I later attached them to my large mixed media panels. I created twenty-three 40 inch x 60 inch panels which formed seven scenes. Six were 5 feet by 10 feet and one was 5 feet by 20 feet long. I installed them in July of 2015. The children and staff are thrilled with the project. They felt it was a positive and life changing experience.