by Lisa Cadigan
Friends – I am thrilled to be volunteering as the co-curator of the Adams County Arts Council’s blog with my friend and colleague, Karen Hendricks of Hendricks Communications. We are launching the new blog with an online event to raise money for scholarships for kids who may not otherwise have access to art classes and camps. I will be publishing the posts for this event here as well, and asking you to help share on all of your social media so that we can meet our goal. The following was originally published on the ACAC blog on May 7, 2014.
Once upon a time, there was a middle-aged woman. Every Monday, she woke up, made coffee, woke her children, made breakfast, nagged at them to brush their teeth and put on their shoes, and then drove them to school to start their day. She continued on to her workplace, where she usually spent the first ten to fifteen minutes of her day checking email and perusing Facebook; a comforting routine to ease herself from the role of mother to the role of employee, ready to tackle the tasks on her to-do list.
One day, as she sat at her computer, a beautiful, brightly colored-image danced across her Facebook newsfeed. “Arts Benefit Children!” it said. “Well, of course the arts benefit children,” she thought to herself, and so she clicked. Here is what she read:
On May 20-22, you will have an opportunity to help the Adams County Arts Council raise $4,800 in 48 hours! We are harnessing the power of the internet to reach out to thousands of people, who can change the lives of children and make the world a better place with just the click of a button!”
“Hmmm…I’m a little skeptical,” she thought to herself. But she read on. It turned out that an old friend of hers was involved in the fundraiser, and had posted the colorful image. She clicked the “donate” button, sent in ten dollars, and then shared the link on her Facebook page, in an attempt to reconnect with her friend. Her donation surprisingly brought on the sense that she had already accomplished something helpful and important that day, and it was only 8:45 a.m. “Huh,” she thought. “Simple mouse-clicks do have the capability of affecting people. But why would anyone want to donate to an organization with which they may not have a personal connection?”
The answer came to her surprisingly quickly. She suddenly remembered a painting class she took as a third grader. She had just moved to a new city and school where she hadn’t yet made friends. She was lonely and worried she would never adjust. At the beginning of the class, she couldn’t think of anything to paint, so she decided she would just choose colors to paint “lonely.” The result was a beautiful painting in blues and greens, and her teacher shared it with the rest of the class. At the end of class, another student approached her and told her how much she liked the painting. The girl was still her friend thirty years later. Art had changed her life in that moment.
A man in another state, who knew the woman in college, saw the brightly colored image pop up in his newsfeed. Seeing her name attached to the post unexpectedly flooded him with college memories. He recalled a meeting with his freshman advisor, who told him he was required to take an art class. “I don’t want to take an art class,” he had thought at the time. “I’m a mathematician, not an artist.” But his advisor explained that the art class was a requirement for graduation. So he decided on an acting class. He realized he had been using principles from the class every day in his classroom as a math teacher. Thanks to that acting class, he was comfortable in front of a crowd and better able to read the faces of his students. Not to mention, he met his wife in that acting class.
He called his wife, and nostalgically recounted the memory of their meeting place, telling her about the post on Facebook. “I am sharing it with you right now,” he said. “You should share it with your artsy-friends and donate a dollar or two.” She laughed, because she and her husband often playfully debated the differences in their educations; his was much more math and science-based, while she had been a music major with a minor in English. They were both highly intelligent people, and both were teachers now, touching the lives of future generations with skills polished at least partially, if not entirely, by their experiences with art.
She shared the Facebook post, too, and donated five dollars. As she read the stories across shared posts, she was deeply touched. She had been the recipient of a music scholarship in the fourth grade that allowed her to take violin lessons. Her family could not afford the instrument rental without that scholarship, and if she had not taken those lessons, she would never have tapped into the musical part of herself that filled her heart and life so significantly. She realized the scholarship was the reason she taught elementary orchestra now. She tweeted and emailed the fundraiser information to all of her colleagues.
This is how it works.
Every day, we connect with people, and the common source of our human connection is creativity. Whether it is telling a joke, watching a movie, writing a business memo, or writing a novel, the source of human connection requires a creative thought and a medium through which it can be expressed.
In the coming weeks, we will share real stories of kids who have benefitted from scholarships. You can be part of giving them the tools to creatively contribute to their relationships, careers and to the quality of life in our communities.
Do you have an art story? Will you share it, along with this invitation to help others write theirs?
If just 480 people donate $10 each, we can offer scholarships to more than thirty disadvantaged young people. We can unleash the creative potential in children who may not otherwise be able to tap into such a venue.
Don’t have $10 to spare? Donate just $5. Or $1. Every dollar counts – a click and a dollar or two makes a difference with unlimited potential connections
How can you get involved? It’s as easy as A-B-C:
- A. Visit our donation page between May 20 and 22nd
Donate a dollar. Or $5. Or $10. Or more, if you feel so inspired. But know that every dollar counts.
- B. Share this story with your friends, and encourage them to play along and donate, too.
- C. Come back to the blog to hear stories about past scholarship recipients who have enjoyed classes and camps here, and track our progress.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Lisa Cadigan is a director on the Adams County Arts Council’s board and the chair of ACAC’s Marketing & Development Committee. She is also the sole proprietor of Cadigan Creative, where she offers graphic design and marketing services. You can find out more about Lisa on the Cadigan Creative website, and see samples of her writing on her blog, Daily Presents.
Karen Hendricks is a volunteer on the Adams County Arts Council’s marketing and development committee and the owner/president of Hendricks Communications, LLC. Karen demonstrates a love of writing and communicating in all she does; it’s the common thread linking all of her current and past experiences. Her communications firm provides compelling public relations and marketing services to a select but varied group of clients. You can find out more about Karen on the Hendricks Communications website and see additional samples of her writing on her blog, Off the Merry-Go-Round.