Browsing Archive: March, 2010

Help folks get free,

Posted by Sarah McCann on Sunday, March 28, 2010, In : Responsibility 
but don't get in the cage in order to let them out.

Having made the decision to commit myself to working toward a more just and equitable world and a world in which I can achieve freedom, but not at the cost of others' freedom, I begin to realize the scope of how this commitment has changed my life. I realize the extent to which it causes me to reflect on my actions, both personal and professional. And also the extent to which it has made me realize, in working with people who have been oppres...
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Should We Censor Our Youth?

Posted by Sarah McCann on Saturday, March 27, 2010, In : Youth 
I have already written about YouthSpeaks Seattle and how impressed I was by the young performers. I was also impressed by the variety, depth, and intensity of their topics and with the fact that they spoke seriously and reflectively about subjects as varying as crushes, family, rape, sex, sickness, death, race, and culture. The organizers of the show seemed to trust the young people to perform what they felt, to write their experiences and truths, to express their emotions. The poems were raw...
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Do You Love Yourself?

Posted by Sarah McCann on Saturday, March 27, 2010, In : Love 
I ask this question to people I get involved with. Sometimes it surprises them, sometimes it perplexes them, but it is important. And having asked a few people now, gotten a variety of answers, and been asked it in return I realize that it is really about caring for oneself. Maybe care is a better way to describe it considering how "love" is characterized in this society. I have had a lucky span of time where I have been confident in myself and what I am doing. Of course this is not how I fee...
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Thoughts on Home

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 26, 2010, In : Personal Experience 
Adding to my post of two days ago The Spaces Must Change, I wanted to discuss home. Someone's home can be a warm, comfortable, inviting place to be, but only if it is livable. I love walking into a beautifully designed house with rich colors on the walls, comfy furniture, and great lighting, but if the house is not livable, if the objects are not meant to be used, worn, loved, then the house ceases to be homey. I think about my childhood. About parents with white carpets who filled with rage ...
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The First Day of my 30th Year OR Birthday Thanks

Posted by Sarah McCann on Thursday, March 25, 2010, In : Love 
Today, on the day that I turn 29 and start my 30th year, I wanted to take this space as a place to honor and thank all of you that I have known in my life. You have been part of making me who I am and who I will be. It has been a pleasure to meet and know youall. Without your love and support I could not accomplish as much as I do. I hope that in the years that my life continues, we will continue to know each other and share in the joy of life.

Some words from Rumi I think are quite beautiful ...
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The Spaces Must Change

Posted by Sarah McCann on Wednesday, March 24, 2010, In : Community Arts 
As a community artist, I end up working in many different spaces - schools, clinics, youth centers, office, outdoors, etc. What has become clear through my work is how we can and must alter spaces to allow for more direct human interaction, open communication, and to create space for healing and love. The ordinary institutional spaces of society do not allow for this. I find schools especially oppressive. By moving desks, playing ice-breakers, and sitting in circles the classroom space begins...
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Tim Rollins and K.O.S. at the Frye

Posted by Sarah McCann on Monday, March 22, 2010, In : Community Arts 
After seeing the Tim Rollins and K.O.S. exhibit at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, and seeing him speak there, I have noticed a difference in the way that I approach my programming with youth and how Rollins does. I still admire what he does and think that he is successful at it. The work that he and his students make is beautiful, the grown up young people he has worked with are successful and seem to be doing well, their artwork is housed in museum collections around the world, and I do thi...
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The Power of Words, the Voice of Youth

Posted by Sarah McCann on Sunday, March 21, 2010, In : Youth 
This is my response to "Youthspeaks Seattle" the youth poetry grand slam finals held at the Moore Theater in Seattle on Friday, March 19th. I randomly happened past the Moore in my exploration of Seattle while there visiting and the marquis drew me in. I work with youth, I love poetry, and the Youth Dreamers and I just committed to co-hosting Wide Angle Youth Media's Poetry event on Tuesday, April 20th at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. So I went. I knew it would be good, but I was blown away by ...
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Seattle, First Impressions

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 19, 2010, In : Travel 
I started my trip to Seattle overtired (having awoken at 4am Eastern time), hungry (not having eaten since 4am, except some crackers on the plane), and having to cancel my rental car because they added on fees and charges that doubled the cost. My initial panic at being alone, in a strange city, and faced with a public transportation system whose map I didn't understand, I attribute to my tired, hungry, and cranky state. Once I decided just to get on the light rail and head toward downtown I ...
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Social Deviants as Heroes

Posted by Sarah McCann on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, In : Responsibility 
Society does not support its artists. This leads many to stress, poverty, and the outskirts of society, which then seems to have created the myth that genius comes with madness, excess, and oddity. This myth is perpetuated by popular culture and the art world. And artists that challenge this myth are few and far between. Too many happily accept that to be a genius they must remove themselves from others, make themselves different, special somehow. Instead of nurturing their ties with the worl...
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The Ease of Being Overstimulated

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 12, 2010, In : Responsibility 
I work mostly with middle schoolers. And I love my middle schoolers. For the most part I understand why they make the decisions they do, what drives their moods, and what things effect them. I remember very well being that age and being overly excited most of the time. A couple weeks ago one of my students said to me, "I'm shining Ms. Sarah, you can see that." And I could. A boy had just said something to her and she was visibly glowing. I asked her though - because at that point she was havi...
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On the Peace Corps Application Process

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 12, 2010, In : Personal Experience 
For anyone that is interested in applying to be a Peace Corps volunteer I thought it might be interesting and possibly helpful to write about my experience with the process. After having served two years as an Americorps member I was sure that I was ready to start my Peace Corps application. I went to an information session in June or July of last year and then got my application in by early August. The application itself is pretty standard, basic personal information, essays about why one wa...
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Confidence vs. Cockiness

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 12, 2010, In : Communication 
I was thinking about where the line between confidence and cockiness is drawn and here is what I have come up with. I am sure there are a myriad of other ways the distinction could be drawn, but this is a start. Confidence is having faith in oneself, but acknowledging the ability to make mistakes and admitting the mistakes when they occur. Cockiness is having unquestioned faith in oneself and the belief nothing one does is a mistake. A complete lack of confidence causes one to believe that ev...
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On Consumption

Posted by Sarah McCann on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, In : Education 
This post was inspired by a conversation I had last night about finding the things that we need to do in life, how education often confuses this process, and the inherent ability of people to learn. I was speaking with someone in the video game industry who will be coming to do a workshop with my youth program and we were talking about how he got into the field. He said that video games were one of those things that consumed him - that he wanted to know more about, wanted to know how they wor...
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Balancing Desires, Respecting Oneself and Others

Posted by Sarah McCann on Tuesday, March 9, 2010, In : Responsibility 
Why do so many people only think about themselves? I understand the importance of needing to know what one wants and being able to articulate it, otherwise it will never be had, but at the same time, when what one wants will have an effect on another person, the other person's desires and needs should be taken into account before one acts. Relationships must be reciprocal in order to be healthy. This has much to do with the Walmart Remington debate. If Walmart was a person (which actually as ...
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Should Walmart Come to Remington?

Posted by Sarah McCann on Monday, March 8, 2010, In : Politics 
I would prefer that a Walmart not be built in Remington. There seem to me enough Walmart stores around Baltimore City, but I have a car and I can drive half hour in just about any direction and hit a Walmart. For people without a car however, I see the draw of having a Walmart within city limits. What is most important in the discussion about whether to open a Walmart on the corner of 25th and Howard is what the people that live there think about it, whether they have a place to voice their t...
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I Heart Smalltimore

Posted by Sarah McCann on Saturday, March 6, 2010, In : Community Arts 
I didn't know how I would feel about moving to a small city. Having lived in New York for seven years, there was something that I enjoyed about the anonymity it allowed. And having lived in New York for seven years, there was something oppressive that happened when I began to know enough people to run into them randomly on the street or when I would recognized strangers, simply because our patterns overlapped. And yet here I am, in Baltimore, I have been here for just about three years now an...
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Access to Health Care (Or Lack of It) as Punishment and Torture

Posted by Sarah McCann on Friday, March 5, 2010,
I made a comparison in yesterdays post of lack of access to health care being akin to physical torture. After reading the following article this morning, I am convinced that health care is being used as a means of punishment and torture here within the borders of the United States and not just in the way that it coerces working people into a powerless position, but also the way it is being managed in our country's jails.

"The Terrible Case of Jamie Scott: How an $11 Robbery in Mississippi May ...
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Entering the Health Care Debate

Posted by Sarah McCann on Thursday, March 4, 2010, In : Politics 
I am one of those people who believes that access to health care is a human right and that everyone should be able to choose a doctor, see them when they want, and go to the hospital during emergencies without having the anxiety of massive medical bills upon discharge. I was an Americorps member for the last two years and at the end of my term became self-employed. My father categorizes me as one of those people who choose not to have health care. I feel that was not the choice I made, if giv...
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The Cultural Significance of Naming

Posted by Sarah McCann on Wednesday, March 3, 2010,
In the United States the enormous cultural production industry often times makes it difficult for individuals to find space to create true culture. Culture is something that comes from people, not from industry, and not from mass production. One of the few spaces I see in which people have the ability to and are using this ability to create culture is in naming. I had a discussion while home over the holidays about this. It started with one of those studies about how people with names like Jo...
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The Illusion of Love in Popular Culture

Posted by Sarah McCann on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, In : Love 
I watched the finale of The Bachelor last night. Having viewed this prime time drama, I am left feeling that television is perpetuating a dangerous view of what love is and should be. I am aware of the cliches that have been ingrained in me by years of consuming tv romance. I understand that love is something deeper and more complex than what tv relationships generally illustrate, but I do on occasion find myself affected by the constant barrage of images of people "falling in love". The inte...
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The Key to Successful Community Arts Programming: Support

Posted by Sarah McCann on Monday, March 1, 2010, In : Community Arts 
Over the last three years, working as a community artist in Baltimore, it has become increasingly clear to me that one of the most important components of a successful community arts project is support. Going beyond the obvious need for monetary support, one must also have the investment of the partnering organizations, members of the community, and volunteers. I have learned the hard way how to recognize when this support may or may not be present. I now realize in hindsight that there were ...
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This blog will address issues of communication, art, and life from my point of view. It is a means for me to keep writing, thinking critically, and finding meaning in my life and work.

 

 

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