Above is a photo of me and Paula Larke, an artist of whom I deeply respect and admire. As part of the training, I was honored to witness her perform not once, but twice. Her work, her presence and her love for her audiences impacted me and my artistic processes in ways that which I do not yet have the words.
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the 2019 cohort of the Art Equity National Facilitator Training, which was held over two sessions in Atlanta, Georgia. I recently got back from the second and final session, and now I am considered to be an Art Equity Alumni, which connects me to a larger network of previous cohorts. Before too much time passes after my experience, I wanted to share a few brief reflections on my overall experience of being part of the training.
To give some context, as an artist, when I think about approaching a new piece of work, I start from the end feeling, the feeling that I want my audience to walk out of the door with when they are leaving the venue. Everything for me in my process begins with this feeling at the end, and from this understanding, I work my way from the beginning towards that feeling.
I wanted to share the above, because the end result of my deep participation in the Art Equity National Facilitation was one of the most transformational of my life. I went through a journey that engaged me to my core and challenged me to dig much deeper into my healing process.
At the end, I felt a sense of connection and community, of the promise of more connection and more conversations that push towards growth. I do have to admit at one point I had to make a personal choice. To either look into the mirror and see myself exactly where I was at and make hard and necessary healing changes, or to not. It was not easy, and I am still learning from the entire experience, still healing, making adjustments and growing. I am very grateful for the entire Art Equity National Facilitator experience, all of the uncomfortable moments that pushed and challenged me, and all of the new friendships and new pathways in my mind that were opened up from the experience.
Thank you to the facilitators that held space for our 2019 cohort. And thank you to my fellow cohort members. We did it!
Quyanaqpak. (thank you very big)
Allison Akootchook Warden