July 27, 2014 we sat in anticipation waiting to see what, if any, cups would arrive. Boy, were we in for a surprise ūüôā

Today I sit reflecting and preparing. Talks have begun around how to create a sustainable entity, building awareness, resources and value for handmade. Ideas are churning and all of you that supported the cup show in various ways last year are on my mind, feeding me and keeping me eye on the ball.  We did something amazing and we can do it again. Bigger, more, better.

And we will.  I look forward to building it together.

xo
Pam

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Ready, Set, PLAN!

Almost within the six month approach of November, National Adoption Month and the Finding Forever Exhibition, we have begun fresh discussions around fundraising and seeking this year’s venue.

So what are we talking about as far as fundraising?

Money-Tree-1000x1153Last year’s event did not land us in the black financially. Meaning, costs outweighed monies raised. We seek to have a sustainable model therefore we are pursuing how to garner corporate sponsorships, grants and other means to fund the costs necessary to execute the event. We look at this event as a partnership with MARE, the artists and the community. Last year the community component was focused on awareness raising, participation as far as volunteering and purchasing, and through support in the media. This year in addition to all of these things we strive to connect with area businesses for their active financial support to spread the awareness, increase community participation and generate the financial support system to nurture the¬†growing roots of the organization.

Finding this year’s home

Retail_space_availableOne of the biggest challenges we face is our venue. We want something visible, easily accessible, and of gallery caliber. Last year we were able to get pretty close to our vision by clean and painting the space as well as modifying shelving and lighting to create the atmosphere we sought. ¬†This year we seek to do the same but be able to display more work, accommodate a bigger crowd and at a more affordable cost. ¬†The search is under way and we already have more possibilities than last year. ¬†We’d love to hear any leads you might have so free to shoot us an email if you have any connections/venue suggestions.

So this is where we are as of today.  Please follow us at the bottom of the page as well as keep an eye on our Facebook group for updates and news. We were so thrilled with the support, attendance and spreading the word that we hope you come along for the ride again this year!

Almost time to SPRING into action

Hello friends and supporters,

The Spring thaw is slowly making its way to us in Western Massachusetts as is the time to begin preparations for Finding Forever 2015! Gotta say, we are getting excited already!

Today we inquired about first grant to help defray expenses and have begun to expand the scope of artists we will invite to participate. We look forward to showcasing more exquisite cups and telling you more about MARE and their work on behalf of kids in foster care.

Did you get your poster of all the work at last year’s opening? You still can! Posters are $10 plus all the usuals. They really are quite snazzy and¬†would look terrific on your home, studio or office wall. ¬†Click the button below to order and we will get it to you pronto!

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cup poster commem

Christmas

This past weekend was our first round of Christmas. As a family of divorce, there are alternating holidays so this year I had my children until today, Christmas eve morning. We went away with my partner, his daughter and grandparents to celebrate in Pennsylvania. We had a beautiful tree, gifts, lots of food, the usual as I am sure you can imagine. This isn’t the reason for my writing. Last night we arrived home. Weary from the traffic, not sleeping in our beds and too much food. Snuggling at bedtime, my daughter and I discussed our trip- the funny parts, the book she is devouring that I gave her, and so on. Suddenly she hugged me tight saying how she would miss me on Christmas. It’s always tough at the holidays when we are all not together. I often wonder about what else she might be thinking‚Ķabout her birth parents, other kids in foster care, or where she is from. ¬†Then she said “I’m so glad I’m adopted by you.” No other words could mean as much. ¬†To know she feels as though she belongs, was/is wanted, is so very loved. This was my greatest gift on Christmas.

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Reflection, Winding Down and the Ahhhh

It¬†has been almost six months¬†since I put out the Finding Forever idea¬†into the world¬†and¬†the first invitations to potters were sent. ¬†Today I begin writing them again, only this time with gratitude, posters and¬†payment. I can’t wait to tell them how their work was received (even fought over!) and how they contributed to an awareness campaign that is sending ripples out through each cup of coffee or tea shared in these cups. They have contributed to the greatest of gifts: finding the love and acceptance of a family.

Friday night at the closing event I began to feel the slow let down of it coming to an end. As the¬†shelves became emptier and emptier, I reflected back on all the volunteer help, the support in the press and the joy I felt every time a new box arrived on my porch. Just as I started¬†to give in to the sadness, something wonderful happened. “I’m here to pick up my cup and thank you for this amazing thing you’ve done,” my friend Sandy said. ¬†“Will you do this again?” my friend Deb asked. ¬†You’re thanking me?? I want to thank YOU!

This year’s event may be over, but this effort, this idea of Purchasing Art with a Purpose, raising awareness about children in foster care, showcasing the professional work of potters across the country, will continue. We have already begun discussing how to tighten our process, be clearer about the mission, and generate more awareness and funds for the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. We have some surprises up our proverbial sleeves and I can’t wait to begin again!

But for now I will allow the wind down, the ahhh of a job well done, and will share it with all the amazing people and businesses that helped make this happen:

Nancy Alexander, Greg Aubin, John Aubin, Jen Audley, Emily Ballard, Jane Banks, Melinda Baughman, Base Camp Photo, Bellybowl Bread, Steve Bridges, Danielle Carriveau, Catherine Cavanaugh, Clarkdale Farm, Cheryl Costella, Peggy Cogan, Lisa Davol, Tim deChristopher, Element Brewery, Charissa Emond, Lauren Gardner, Becky George, Kristen Gillan, Greenfield Coffee, Greenfield Business Association, Green River Ambrosia, Donna Gulow, Janice Halpern, Alan Hammer, Anne Harding, Jim Heffron, Jordi Herold, Hillary Hoffman, Home Depot, Jennifer Inglis, Thomas Jackman, Gary Jackson, Marilyn Jacobson, Chris Johnson, Karen Jones, Kristen Kieffer, Kate Kinsella, Kacia & Kris Kinsmith, Tricia Kutt, Lou Leelyn, Beth Lorenz, Mandy Locke, Linda McInerney, Ginny Newton, Michael Nix, David Ottney, Jaye Pope, Pamela Price, Beth Reynolds, Julianne Savage-Boeding, Garth Shaneyfelt, Christine Tanner, The People’s Pint, Sign Grafx, Erin Waxman, Lexy Wapner, Nanci Young, Barb Zaccheo, along with Bill,¬†Kathy and Wendy Zellers.

THANK YOU

So, what about the unadopted cups?

What will you do with the cups that are left? ¬†I’ve been asked. The exhibition is nearing its end and the cups that are left unpurchased become more and more compelling for me. ¬†Not for the reasons you might think. ¬†So, the simple answer is that the cups will not be returned. The artists who submitted work completed a form which indicated that unsold cups would be retained by us for next year. Next year we will exhibit them again along with all the new work received. Simple. Not that complicated or remarkable right? For me, they symbolize something much greater. To be in foster care means your family of origin failed to do what was necessary to parent you appropriately, safely, lovingly. What does it say for the child who remains in foster care for 365 days or more? What does that feel like? What does that mean to them?

Next year some of the cups will be displayed again and I hope these faces will no longer be in MARE’s database looking for their Forever Families. I hope to God at least one child is found and taken into loving arms in the home they deserve. ¬†I hope this effort raises the awareness I intended, the drive to be a family regardless of biology, the hope to bring hope to child who never deserved to feel this way.

Gallery sitting today

Today marks the second Saturday we are open since the big unveiling on November 7th. While I love being here, I am contemplating the purpose of being open for the remainder of the month. I spoke with our wonderful¬†gallery sitters that evening visitors has been pretty nonexistent. I was hopeful that given the Farmer’s Market downtown and the glorious weather outside that a few folks would come in. So far, notsomuch.

This beauty is still available….

Robert Alewine, Tennesee

Robert Alewine, Tennessee

Perhaps this event is best served by an opening extravaganza followed by daytime opportunities of the same weekend.  I wonder if we might host speakers related to MARE or handmade craft demos on that same weekend. Hmm. Of course the space we find next year determines a lot of what is possible.

What do you think? Do you have thoughts on the issue? Shoot me an email if  you do findingforeverexhibition@gmail.com

Basking

Today I received a collection of images from photographers Beth Reynolds and Donna Gulow of Friday that have me just basking in the warm glow of goodness we created. Though there is still so much to do (believe it or not) I am so grateful to just have a moment to really take it all in….

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