Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Artistic Express-tionalism – Alexandra Ehrhardt

I can’t believe it. It’s already March!? LIES!

Reader, the VISTA year goes by too soon. My journey through time feels like it has been cut short. Similar to the concept of “dog years,” my “VISTA years” have been tremendous. This job continues to test my determination, my accountability, my adaptability, and my skills.

Speaking of skills – if you remember my last blog post, reader, I had mentioned that I was struggling to come up with skills. Many of my skills are still in the works, but I am becoming an aficionado for non-profit skills. I am reading up on business principles, gaining knowledge in realms such as returns on investment, and coding. I have set out to learn some new and marketable skills. I would say my work is amounting to some pay off already.

My role at APEX Youth Center has changed dramatically since the beginning of the new year. One of the main roles I play is graphic designer. I lack formal training on such a category so I use services that allow for newbies to get in on the graphic design game with no problem. APEX Youth Center has a lot of materials that we print out to give to community members. A lot of our stuff is outdated and uninteresting to the modern-day reader. It was my job to amp-up the stakes a little bit and put some flare into our tangibles.

March has really been quite the artsy month for me so far. With this new artistic role on my shoulders, my own artistic sources have been tapped into. I recently painting a bundle of lavender wrapped with twine. I personally don’t find the lavender to be very 3-D, but my best friend, Zoe, says it looks fairly three-dimensional. I’ll let you be the judge of that, reader.

My best friend, Zoe, has been inspiring me to paint pieces that have a sense of realism to them.

My best friend, Zoe, has been inspiring me to paint pieces that have a sense of realism to them.

APEX Youth Center has been an emotional source of inspiration, but our kids do not always have the medium available to express their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Many of the kids do not enjoy painting the way other people do. Many want to record music or write creatively. This key form of expression is missing from the APEX programming, and it is something that I am realizing more and more each week.

I began to question: why do we not value art more? What is the underlying cause for my own thoughts? Is this some sort of conditioning or is this more of a personal matter to me?

I can name critical points in my life where art became my voice when I had no words to say. New Orleans is an artistic city, but is it supporting and creating a new wave – a new generation – of artistry?

Art is everywhere in New Orleans.

Art is everywhere in New Orleans.

The creative forces of the world are in New Orleans, but are we giving them the proper welcome? I would hate to think that the students in the marching bands in Mardi Gras parades are merely performers for the masses rather than actual musicians.

I will ask my APEX kids and get back to you, reader.

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This entry was posted on March 18, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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