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Making a Collage in Nature

August 25, 2014
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Mandala and photo by Christy Tweedy

Mandala and photo by Christy Tweedy

I have been reading about the work and life of Maxine Greene who was an educator who believed that art helps us find ourselves in new ways and ask ourselves new questions about our lives.  

Works of art, when attended to with some degree of discriminating awareness, cannot but surprise if persons are present to them as living beings who live with others and feel themselves existing in the world. That is because such works impel the awakened beholder (or reader or listener) to break with the habitual, the customary, the merely convention, the given.

I have not quite figured this out yet, but I am interested in what it might mean for us and the people we care about and for and live with, who have disabilities, but who often don’t get to experience art in important ways.  Liz Etmanski and I have been talking about this a lot – what are the big stories that are in the art of our culture that are getting missed?  And, because they are missed, people are left out of those stories.  

But I like this idea: “living beings who live with others and feel themselves existing in the world.”  

Our friend Susan Powell “gave me” Maxine Greene – I was talking about some other research and she said “Oh you must look at the work of Maxine Greene” and that was a great surprise.  This is an example of “living beings who live with others and feel themselves existing in the world” finding themselves surprised.  

And then we met a friend of friends, Christy Tweedy, a lovely young woman from San Diego who works with our colleagues Beth and Kirk at Life Works in San Diego.   We all went for dinner and it was like we were old friends, and then Christy, who has been travelling and collecting great stories of people she’s meeting, putting into practice the kind of connectedness we all hope for, put up this photo of a mandala she had made from a maple leaf, twigs and maple seeds in the moss.  She hoped the people she is staying with would walk along the path and find it there, and be surprised: “living beings who live with others and feel themselves existing in the world.”   Maxine Green would have understood this impulse:

There are boundaries, yes, edges, frames; but they are there to be transcended. And to transcend, each one himself or herself and at once along with others, is to transform the petrified world.

So here is the challenge.  Make a collage out of things you find – in nature or in your house or at your friend’s house – and take a photo and send us a picture at aaron@spectrumsociety.org or send it to me or Shelley on Facebook or put it on our Spectrum Consulting Facebook Page – we’ll choose five pictures at random and send you one of our 101 Ways to Make Friends books!  (or if you have that already, let us know which of our other books you’d like to own).  Anyone from anywhere can enter so feel free to forward this to your friends.  

Quotes from Maxine Greene “The Art of Being Present: Educating for Aesthetic Encounters.”

Thanks Christy for the picture 🙂 and the company!  

Left to Right - Shelley, Aaron, Gary, Christy

Left to Right – Shelley, Aaron, Gary, Christy

 

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