Went to New Orleans a few weeks ago to The NeighborWorks Training Institute which is a week of classes/workshops basically about the “How to’s” of building Communities. I go as a Community Organizer and they have lots of classes about how to organize, evaluate and focus residents energies to accomplish goals for their communities; but lets face it this job is a lot like herding cats and the best way to do that is to just “get on your pony and ride”. I lean toward the classes that take you into actual neighborhoods where you can visually inspect what’s going on, walk the streets, talk to residents and the mailman to get a feel of what the place is like or how its changed.
Those of you that are not familiar with Waterway Park it is located here in KCK about 50 feet west of 11th and Grandview. The Park was originally a shallow lake that was part of a larger park design by Sidney Hare, of Hare & Hare, a popular and progressive Landscape Architectural firm responsible for many projects in this region. Sidney Hare’s opinion that nature was the mother of all true art and that painting, sculpture, and landscape art were ready-made inspirations for adorning home grounds, reflected his background and avant-garde ideas. The project was undertaken over 100 years ago and included a sunken garden between Minnesota Ave and State Ave and included Big Eleven Lake. Nearly a mile of waterway with gardens, trees, benches and gathering places for residents and visitors alike.
Since the very conception of EPIC back in July of 2011 we have all been amazed at all of the help and support EPIC has received from not only this community but from the whole Metro area. We have been so lucky to have a group of artists, staff, administrators and neighbors that are commented to the ART of Clay as a tool to engage the residents of this community and especially those that find ART their only means of expression.
We are so thankful to Community Housing of Wyandotte County(CHWC,Inc) and Accessible Arts, Inc for their willingness to form this partnership that has made EPIC possible. We are so thankful for the Artists that have committed themselves to providing such a high level of instruction to those that enter this space. We are thankful for all of our friends that visited, volunteered, have taken classes and helped promo our cause.
Now we want to thank McDevitt Creative for producing this wonderful video about what EPIC is all about. Thank you, thank you and thank you! please take a minute to view the story about a labor of love for this community.
If you believe in what we are doing and want to donate to our cause:
For operational and facility support – CHWC, Inc. 913 342 7580
For Programing support – Accessible Arts,Inc. 913 281 1133
Whenever I go to a different city I always try to find some visual sign of the ARTS. A few weeks ago I was in Topeka, Kansas. I am fairly familiar with Topeka, the amazing mural, sculpture and architectural work at the Capital building. Have met a few of the local artists involved with the Great Mural Project and attended a number of meetings while a Kansas ART Commissioner before our Governor decided that the ARTS aren’t important any more – but we won’t go there. Anyway, I have heard a great deal about the NOTO District, an ART district in an older and less revered area of North Topeka.
Heading north on Kansas from downtown you cross over the river and at the first stop light you have the option of turning right to Little Russia and a visit to Porsbky’s Deli and Tavern or left to the NOTO District. Since it was Saturday I knew Porsbky’s was closed so it was left to the NOTO District. Another left on Kansas takes you into the heart of NOTO. It was around 0800 hrs on Saturday so there wasn’t a lot of street action but there was a popular Cafe, a Flea Market and a Carnival shop preparing for the business day.
Thought I would share my view of my neighborhood. Like most urban neighborhoods that have been around for a 100 years or more there is a lot of variation in housing stock and a mix of residential and commercial zoning. We have properties that have constantly been maintained one generation to the next and properties that have seen better days due to neglect. Rental properties, a few abandoned houses, houses tied up in estate battles, a few deteriorating buildings and some just waiting for the right owner to give it new life.