The Painting Marathon put on by Naropa University’s Art Therapy program was a rousing success. 48 hours of nonstop work by 75 volunteer students, staff and faculty on three large paintings netted over $15,000 in donations. The money will support a service-learning project in Cambodia with Transitions Global to help girl victims of sex trafficking. Participating in this as part of “Team Tutu” was a fun way to get to know some of my new community.
Here are the final lotus paintings, photographed where they are temporarily hanging at Naropa’s Paramita Campus in Boulder, CO.
They are big, taking up most of each wall. I often walk the long way round to the copier or the water fountain just to look at them. Those who offered the three highest donations will get the paintings. Lucky stiffs! That sure beats those Xmas card packs other charities offer as thanks.
The “A” Team
As you might imagine, the paintings underwent tremendous transformation over the 48 hours, as teams of painters came and went and added their own vision and flair to the works.
Team Tutu in progress
Grad student Stephanie Andres (the sketcher above) held Team Tutu together in a way that was a masterpiece of skill, strongly holding a coherent vision for the geometrically layered work while still allowing individual creativity.
Those pomegranate seeds in the middle – my contribution, which then virally spread coral colors throughout the piece as other tutu-clad painters came on board – are an illustration of this.
The “A” Team in progress
(look back at the final to marvel how much this one changed just over the final 5 hours!)
This lovely beetroot heart still remains, shining forth from within the new lotus.
Vibrant Vortex in progress
Here’s a video by Meg Hamilton that documents some of the paintings’ changes through photos taken by many participants, myself included.
There was also a wall-sized piece done by visiting teens. Here’s a small part of it that I particularly liked:
Local musicians came to play for the painters, which made the event even more fun. I love how music informs visual art. Long ago when I used to paint a lot, I’d sometimes make a list of all the songs that went into each completed work. You know that the piece was different due to its influence.
At one point during the marathon, these guys called for guest singers, and I got to sing St. James Infirmary with them! Best coffee break ever.
Some of Nalanda Campus’ 7 cute prairie dog coteries sang along outside.
I feel fortunate to teach at Naropa, where I get to work alongside such inspiring colleagues as Sue Wallingford, the Art Therapy faculty who is spearheading the project along with her dedicated and talented students.
Who could resist painters in tutus?
Thanks to all of you Indigenize readers who supported this project.