What a Week!

It’s been quite a week here. There have been boxes on the steps almost every day totally twenty five new mugs and cups for the exhibition. HOLY COW. Yes, I’ve been brought to tears and hysterical laughter at the sheer generosity and utter beauty at what has arrived.  It feels so very magical.  The variety of creativity is astounding. Here is a sampling of what’s come in this week. More work on the cups page and the coming days as I continue to photograph them all.

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Deadline Extension

We’ve heard from several potters who wish to submit work who just couldn’t get it in under the October 1st wire. NO WORRIES. We are happy to receive your work after today. Please let us know what you are sending so we can allocate shelf space as we prepare to build what we need. We can also pick up if you are in Western Mass. Just give a call 🙂

Purchasing Art with Purpose

I wonder how many folks consider the dynamic we are striving to create in having this exhibition. We talk about it a lot, the obvious embracing of foster kids and the not so obvious, exhibiting art where purchasing has a purpose.

CharityIt is fairly common to be solicited on a somewhat regular basis to support a variety of causes with a financial donation. There is the unspoken rule that our dollar will benefit an organization’s efforts with no expected return or recognition for our donation other than an email or postcard. Our payoff is our own satisfaction;  a sense of contributing to a better world through our financial sharing.

hands of a potter, creating an earthen jar on the circleWhen purchasing art or craft the only rules of engagement are that our money will go to the artist and then we will have an object of beauty or function to enjoy. In these tough economic times for many, art is not a viable part of the budget. There is no justification for spending generously on something strictly beautiful or one that has function but a larger-than-Walmart price tag.

What if purchasing art is given a purpose? What if through purchasing handmade work not only is the artist supported for their craft, but a financial gift is given to a charity? Now the work is not only meaningful for its beautiful expression of the artist’s expertise and technique, but directly supporting those in need. Maybe its creating a nurturing environment for children with HIV in Ethiopia (Artists for Charity), creating resources for marginalize youth ( Art Start), or in our case, funding an organization that’s mission is to facilitate adoption of foster children in need.

This idea isn’t new, but we feel it has vital relevance that we are cultivating with Finding Forever. More than ever we as humans strive to create meaning and make a difference. You can do it at the exhibition, directly funding artists and supportive services for children in foster care seeking to be paired with their adoptive family.

Glorious work of the hand

I continue to be amazed, humbled and oh so grateful for the stunning work that arrives on my doorstep for the exhibition.  I have been a fan of Eric Smith‘s work for sometime and am so honored he would submit not one, but two pieces to the exhibition.

Honoring handcrafted work in a gallery setting is an important component of the exhibition. Often artists are asked to donate their work without compensation or even recognition for a variety of causes.  It was key to us that not only the work be showcased in a manner that highlights it’s value, but that the artists be paid for their valuable time and unique wares.  We think this is a new model of valuing the work and the charity, side by side, raising awareness as well as valuing the importance of handmade in our culture. It is a unique ‘job’ that deserves pay, recognition and sustainability in a time when we have seemed to have moved further and further away from the intimate and personal connection to what we live with and for everyday.

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Fired in a wood kiln, his work has remarkable texture, line and grace. Unbelievably light yet durable, I have enjoyed using one of his cups daily for a long time now. I look forward to seeing who decides to purchase one of his pieces at the exhibition. There are more images of his work here.

Next Phase

lease-schedule

Today we officially signed our lease! Finding Forever now has a home for November and December. An important milestone, this day reflects a community of people who have come together in support of this idea. Wow.

So what’s next you ask? Now we kick into higher gear on event design and acquiring cups. Several potters have work on the way and I am emailing potters daily to ask for their participation. If you are reading this and are a potter who wishes to participate, click here for the prospectus. We are beginning the space design and will work with MARE to acquire images from their Heart Gallery and information about adoption to be displayed at the event. Signage will be created and shelving acquired. It won’t be long until invitations go out and catering arranged.

Let the next phase of creative fun begin!

Kickstarter Success!

excited

WE DID IT! We reached our Kickstarter goal with a few days to spare! Now we can move forward with signing our lease which utilizes most of the funds from this campaign.  This has lifted a bit of the financial burden. Whew. We still have a ways to go with marketing, construction and execution, but this gets on our way with a little less stress right out of the gate.

Wow. I’m almost speechless. Almost 🙂  I feel a sense of community with each and every person who contributed and shared information about this effort. The emails I’ve received from some of our funders and potters about their personal connections to foster care or adoption affirmed my commitment to this event. This is powerful stuff people. And you all made it happen.

Today a potential funder asked about whether we still need funds and the answer is yes. There are many more costs to come. Folks can contribute to the Kickstarter for a few more days or send a check directly to me. All funds will be used to execute the event with anything left over going to the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange. Checks should be made out to Pam Kinsmith and mailed to 93 Homestead Avenue, Greenfield, MA 01301 Just like on the Kickstarter, funders will be noted in the program with high level funders receiving a color poster from the event.

Thank you. Your generosity means so much. My heart is full, and my gratitude everlasting.

FF Press Release LetterheadIn the last few days MARE has circulated a terrific press release about the Finding Forever Exhibition and listed us on their homepage of upcoming events. How cool is that!?  Here it is for your viewing pleasure and to share with others…

 

We are within reach of our Kickstarter fundraising goal and we can almost taste the victory of getting there. ALMOST!  We are so grateful for each and every contribution and need just a few more in the next six days to get us the seed money we need to make the exhibition GREAT in November. Join us with your donation! Click here to donate.

Just ten days….

Nervous WreckJust ten days left in the Kickstarter project. Not much time but hope remains and our push continues to get the word out. This little nest egg will pay the rent, utilities and insurance costs for the time of the exhibit. Enough to get us going while we work on all the other pieces like writing to more potters, constructing shelving, signage and the plethora of other demands we feel are necessary to execute a professional, gallery-level exhibition.

Will your contribution push us over our goal? We’re more than half way there, but we’re not there yet!  YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!  This event will raise awareness about the over 8,000 kids in foster care in Massachusetts alone, 400,ooo nationwide.  For every cup that sells we will be raising funds for MARE to support their ongoing work to find Forever Families for so many kids in need.

If this event brings just one family unfamiliar with foster care to the event and they adopt one child they learn about, then will have done some serious good in the world. We all will have done it together.

I KNOW WE CAN DO THIS! Just $25. You can do it. Tell your friends about it, too.

Oh yeah and one more thing…..you are gonna help us ROCK THIS THING!

Suddenly…

Suddenly its back to school, goodbye summer vacation (though the thermometer says differently), hello work and the last two weeks of the kickstarter for the exhibition. Twelve days to be exact.  Yesterday I began sweating (literally and figuratively) all the details, to dos, needs and wants of this event.

Then I watched this…We are Aleeanna & Savannah, read about Jociah and looked at face after face staring back at me from the screen…

The tears came and I remembered my bubbas being in the pages of kids wanting so much to be held, loved, just plain wanted. I remembered how much a simple picture changed my life.

My worries have gone away. The details will get done. The cups will all arrive. The money will be given.  It will be alright. Because of them I know it will.

An update and some thoughts

Today our Kickstarter project reached just over 50% funded! In just seven days. Wow.

When I set out to do this project, I had hope, passion and great expectations. I called on professional artists, business people, and other wise mentors to advise me and through them I catapulted past doubt and moved forward. We brainstormed, planned, sought consult, and researched.  Others were as excited as we were.  Potential volunteers started emailing and then we learned our state senator hopes to attend and support the event.  Suddenly I felt silly for having sat on this idea for the last few years.

The gratitude I feel for every contribution, comment of support on the Facebook page, message in my email, cannot be adequately expressed in words.  To me this must mean that you agree that foster children deserve to be heard in a loud, beautiful, resounding voice. A voice that we hear and know is amazing, beautiful, and wanted. We are celebrating them through the beautiful handmade work submitted from near and far in a collaborative action that will manifest for the whole community to see.

This exhibition will succeed because of your support, the creative hands of artists near and far, my wish to for M.A.R.E. and their important work with these children to be emphasized and discussed in our community. And in the end, my greatest hope, is that there will be less foster children and more Forever Families.

Thank you for your continuing support by sharing about the exhibition and the kickstarter.  Let’s push on to reach our goal and make this event spectacular! images

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