Friday, June 19, 2009

We are BACK!

Well we are back from our cross country road trip to raise awareness and funds for an open art studio located in Uptown Chicago! An overwhelming trunk full of stories and memories later, as well as several near death experiences-we are no worse for the wear! We have decided though that being lost in the mountains at night (as we were for hours on a couple of occasions) is inherently how this project has felt -filled with twists, turns, dark gravel roads vs glimmers of light, needing to ask for directions, being unsure, being rained on, overcoming fear, questioning why anyone would agree to this in the first place, calling in to lifelines for help, being brave, sending up a few prayers and eventually finding our way.

Oh, and not to mention we had many car glitches (aka hitting a median, overheating in Death Valley on our way to LA, leaking mystery fluid the whole trip, and a service engine light that flickered frequently) which caused us to miss several cities and even be rained out in one while missing a handful of tornado warnings while passing through towns! These types of setbacks also led to us missing the mark in terms of our fundraising goal by quite a bit................ now I know it must seem like I am doing an awful lot of whining and focusing on the negative over here but my point is that there were many many times where it looked like this project was dead in the water, game OVER, better luck next time.. over. done. over.... and aside from our understandable discouragement at times... we never really believed that it was over... in fact even in the face of some really miserable obstacles (for instance a humongous garbage can completely melted to the underside of our car on day two) we believed that we would make it all the way to California..... and we did.

I have had to think long and hard about the project in terms of all of the "now whats" since we are far from our fundraising goal. While that part of the equation feels like failure- I am reminded that often times part of how we stand in our own way of finding meaning in what matters most is our inability to objectively look at how we define success. Now I know that what we did with the project financially thus far is not enough to allow for the studio to stay open, and that part stings...alot. But I also know better than to ever count anything out. Running on heART was an amazing journey that relied heavily on the help of many unfamiliar yet extraordinary people! During our travels we had countless genuine interactions with people and were able to share and listen to so many stories about how art and music have changed lives. We were also given the opportunity to inform so many people about how open art studios provide a stage for these types of experiences and how they benefit community members, especially those marginalized due to mental, physical, or socioeconomic differences.

We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the project and there are tons of people interested in helping to continue to assist this studio. The support the studio needs may not come about quickly but I do believe that sometimes it is just as important to be a ripple in the pond that gets things going. Our efforts always matter and make a difference on some level to someone and to ourselves-probably more than we even know regardless of how critical our internal dialogue can be at times.

As it stands the open art studio continues to be scheduled to close at the end of the month. There may be a possible last minute closing event here in Chicago before the summer is up, but it is only a tiny tiny thought right now.

So Running on heART is just the first installment of a string of social activism events/projects that pair music and the visual arts together in order to advocate for programs and people in need. After attending the rally at the Thompson Center today it is possible that our work is far from done and we are even debating purchasing another "art car" for future events as we have already donated the original car in Laguna.

Please stay tuned, collaborate with us, donate, advocate, spread the word, reach out, care, etc etc- help keep the spirit of this project alive and well. If the studio closes those involved will only have to fight that much harder to get it back. Please remember how much this studio means to the participants and the people who were wise and brave enough to start it and believe in it. The Running on heART project has definitely reminded me that I have a few unshakable beliefs myself... I believe that that is better to have risked than to have never tried at all..I believe that when the good of people stand behind a worthy cause that that is all you really need and that eventually positive change will occur...I believe that silver linings can be disorientating but a necessary evil, I believe a touch of creativity paired with a bit of senselessness:) and heart will go further than most attributes typically associated with strength or power in matters that involve true value, I believe in the scraggliest of underdogs, and I believe in the power of art.

Thank you, thank you, thank you -to all who have helped support the Running on heART project!
Sarah

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boulder Believes in ART! Posted by Megan Raskey

After very little, but MUCH needed sleep at the Santa Fe Hotel, we were forced to get up and get going! However, we let the sock monkeys sleep in because they are SO Crabby in the morning! In route to Colorado, we were happy to hear that our trip would only be 6 hours today! Also, the weather in Santa Fe/Colorado was much more bearable than Dallas, which also lifted our spirits. Stopping at Subway for some “breakfast” I was amazed to find out that they offer guacamole for your sandwich! What a great idea! Only in Santa Fe!

As soon as we got in the car, it was time to do our Pod cast. Feeling anxious to tell the story of our near death experience from the night before, we were excited for today’s show. During our show we also discussed how I had thought that I saw a deer in Santa Fe. Yet, I was informed by our producer, Andy Hannon, that there are no deer in Santa Fe. So I think I may have discovered a new species? However there are some deer in Santa Fe…large plastic ones outside of a Gas N Go in the middle of nowhere. Twit pics to come of the newly discovered Santa Fe deer….By the way, I have never seen so many cows just roaming around for miles, and I began to wondering how do people keep track of them?...and if one got away, would anyone notice?

As the beautiful scenery went rolling by outside my window, we were eager to get to Boulder Colorado where we would be staying with my cousin Erin and her two kitties Jaxson and Max. For the first time of the entire trip, we did not get lost!!! Once we were ready for the event, we headed to Pearl Street of downtown Boulder. As soon as we were in route, Mother Nature made herself known once more. By the time we arrived at Band on the Bricks, it was a torrential downpour! Disheartened, we headed to The B Side Lounge to weigh our options. Here we were greeted by a familiar face! Our cousin Billy and his wife Salina joined us for some well earned Margaritas! After awhile, we decided that we would peruse the bar in search of the spirit of Boulder and make due with our weather situation.

Before long, the car was teeming with local Boulderites all ready to put their artistic print on the car! We even provoked the interest of a local photographer! It was very moving to see the way that everyone was willing to come out and support the cause. Realizing the long day ahead of us on Thursday, we were forced to pack up the paint and head for bed!
Special Thanks to The Bed and Breakfast of Erin Andrews- Best 2am whole wheat spaghetti in town! We are now off to Salt Lake City!

Santa Fe Believes in ART! Posted by Megan Raskey

We woke up this morning, rather reluctantly, at the Springfield Hyatt in Dallas. Knowing that Santa Fe was a good 11 hours away, we ate breakfast as fast as we could and got on our way! This trip in particular proved to be the hottest one yet! The temperature in Dallas was a stifling 95 degrees! Which meant that the inside of the car was about 199 degrees. After a much needed Slurpee stop, we picked up a barrel of ice and spent the remainder of the trip soaking in ice puddles….Due to the unbearable weather, we were forced to do our live radio Pod cast from the parking lot of the Nuttin Fancy CafĂ© known for their Fried Pork Chop Cobbler. Jake told them that he had driven all the way from Chicago for a taste, and tried to order some to go. However, they must have been out because they kept telling him they didn’t have any?

Continuing on our journey, we were anxious to get to Santa Fe where we were scheduled to arrive at the Cow Girl at 7pm. Who knew that a few missed exits later we would find ourselves at a gas station weighing the options about getting back on track to Santa Fe….do we trust the locals and drive up into the mountains to save a ½ hour? OR do we go back to the last missed exit and waste a half hour? Jake had another plan. His plan was to hide in the bushes and Cry since we had been lost all day and leaking mystery fluid while our service engine light flickered. After much persuading by Sarah and I, we decided to pull Jake out of the pushes and go with option B: Back Tracking…..This we thought we spare us from driving through the mountains in the pitch black night…..We were wrong.

At about 8:30pm, we were on our way back to the elusive exit and losing sunlight-Fast! We were already and hour and a half late for our event, and we still had an hour of driving ahead of us! Before long we realized the situation that was upon us. In the mountains, exhausted and deflated from a now 13 hour drive, we were still 40 miles outside of Santa Fe and it was pitch black the whole drive through the mountains! Many gasps of horror, a few fights, and one prayer later we FINALLY arrived at Hotel Santa Fe…..Jake got out and kissed the ground as Sarah and I raced to the hotel to check in and change as quick as possible.

We finally arrived at the Cow Girl at 11pm!!!!! Realizing our “punctuality” we took a quick look around and got to work. We were received very well as the patrons of the Cow Girl are very out going and enthusiastic. Before long we had inspired the entire bar to paint the car. The patrons at Santa Fe were perfect for this type of project!

We had people standing on car and even one guy who fell off and smashed his head on another cars bumper. He was fine, he was just a little covered in paint and what was left of his self esteem. Bill, one of the owners of the Cow Girl, even came out to make his mark! He also donated some stickers, a hat, and some thong unna-wears to the cause! Thanks Bill! By 2am, it was time to get home and get to the technical part of the event, editing video, and posting pics. We were So Tired!

Thanks Santa Fe for Believing in ART!!!! and we are off to Boulder!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First 48 Hours! Posted by Megan Raskey

Just to recap…We kicked off the trip last night in Wicker Park at The Flatiron Arts Building! Thanks to all the artists who came out to help paint the car! The following morning we finally began our cross country journey at 7am! Since leaving Chicago we have hit a median, been rained on, had a few fights, a few laughs, and gotten lost (a few times) All in all it has been an adventure. However, I must say that when I signed on for this trip I was under the impression that we had AC, a CD player, directions, and at least a few hours of the day to sleep. I was wrong. I am getting the feeling that these minor details may have been left out on purpose.

Our first event started this afternoon in St. Louis. We were very excited and anxious to get started, but were beginning to realize that the weather did not share in our enthusiasm. Nevertheless, for the few hours that we were dry, we had a blast! Regardless of the threatening skies, we had many people interested in painting the car and getting involved. Even Brooke Foster and Rachael from the Turner Center art studio met us at the event to show their support. All in all it was a successful event. It is just too bad that mother nature had different plans…..But still, St. Louis believes in ART!

After leaving St. Louis, our journey continued on towards Kansas City MO where we were set to pair up with the Power and Lights District and their Blues Festival. Parked outside the Kansas City Chiefs arena, our event began. Emerged in the festivities, participants were feverishly working on all different parts of the car, anxious to share in the fun! We even managed to stir the interests of a couple of local firemen who were happy to show their support by allowing us to take pictures with their fire truck! Karen Willis, a woman living in Kansas City even approached us to share how art is the only thing in her life that has ever made her feel alive, and that she has used it for many years as a way to take care of herself while dealing with her depression.

After the event, we headed over to Raglan Road Irish Pub where we were greeted with excellent service and a well earned cold beer. Raglan Road by the way is one of the most impressive Irish Pubs we have ever visited and a definite must see! We were able to wrap up the event there while yet again being poured on! We headed back to our very welcoming and comfortable room at the Q Hotel and Spa and began editing! What a day.

Still Running on heART,
Megan

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tell Us What You Think!

What do you prefer?
Hugs
High Fives
Handshakes
Other
Results

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where your heART on your sleeve

Well it is over 24 hours into the Running on heART project and we are back in our room at the Q Hotel and Spa in Kansas City, Mo. WHERE TO START!!! Trying to plan 13 events across the country in less than a week is not only crazy...but it definitely is a simultaneous energizing and taxing experience. The week prior to the Project going live there were numerous anticipated ups and downs...and on many levels those elements continue to keep us on our free spirited toes. It has been really surprising to see where the support is coming from for the project and how unlikely some of our sources have been.

This project continues to be a learning experience for all of us involved and has consistently pushed us far our of our comfort zones. Visiting unfamiliar places and talking to strangers and trying to convince them to support not only the arts, but the populations they are benefiting. We have had to get really good at stomaching rejection one minute and in the next moment be present enough to enjoy an overwhelming amount of encouragement. It is interesting how the same things that nurture us can also deplete us at times.

I look at the three of us tonight...on 4 hours of sleep, being heavily rained on most of the day, driving 9 hours in a car with no AC, getting lost, getting minimal donations in some cities, and now watching the TV weather reporter who is updating us on the tornado warning here in Kansas City. I know this whole scenario seems bizarre to most people...and in many ways it is. Having said that, there is a bigger picture here. It becomes more about evaluating what is important to us and why. It becomes more about how do we spend our time and what do we invest ourselves in. For many people like ourselves, I think projects like Running on heART represent simple yet extraordinary beliefs. The belief that sometimes it is necessary to go to greater lengths or be willing to take risks to protect what is important not only to ourselves, but to us all.

Best,
Sarah and the Running on heART team