Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The artist didn't think outside the box, because he doesn't even know there might be a box. He and his colleagues at UMAR, a local organization that supports folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities, unveiled their work at the annual UMAR fund-raising luncheon today at Providence United Methodist Church.
This blog entry isn't a pitch for UMAR, admirable though I think it is. (You can find out more at www.umarinfo.com.) It's a reminder that virtually any human being can make art with the proper stimulation, training and opportunities.
Sale tables at the lunch were crammed with necklaces and earrings, paintings and photographs, recycled and redecorated boxes meant to hold keepsakes, rustic bowls made of cement. UMAR folks like bold colors and striking arrangements, and the art leapt out at you. The makers, many of whom stood shyly by, did not. Like many visual artists and designers, they're not especially verbal.
UMAR defines art less traditionally than the rest of us do, to include gardening and culinary work. Sometimes its artists cross boundaries: On entering the lunch, I got a hug (almost everybody's a hugger here) and a bookmark with a hole cut in it for a piece of fresh rosemary. Not utilitarian, but it makes my desk smell better than my usual onion bagels.
Some of these folks live wholly independently, while some need group homes. Some have jobs; some don't. But all of them have some kind of creative spirit, and seeing those spirits liberated at this event always leaves me with a lighter pocketbook and a lighter heart.
Posted by Lawrence Toppman at 2:39 PM