Friday, December 19, 2008

to give...

tis the season, eh?

what a great snow fall we had a couple days ago. I was lucky enough to visit a day care center yesterday; I read one of my favorite children's books, "The Snowy Day" to each of the classes I visited. Peter is the main character and he wears the sweetest little red snowsuit on his adventures.

'he made a smiling snow man and he made snow angels....crunch, crunch, crunch, his feet sank into the snow'...;-)

I'd like to wish you all a happy holiday season, and ask you to consider taking the time to check your mailbox in the next couple of days. Mikey and I are hoping to raise a bit of funds to compensate Joe on his efforts at Rosedale Middle School this fall.

He has visited the 8th grade art class twice a week for the last month and says the ideas and collaobration efforts are coming along beauitfully. I hope to ask him a few questions about his experience so that I may share them with you.

As for raising of funds, we will send out letters asking for small donations of $25 dollars. All we need is 30 people to donate and we'll have Joe taken care of and ready to work next spring.

We will not let the the grant news bear down us....we're hoping for snow angels.


Monday, December 8, 2008


Mikey Fletcher.
happy birthday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

grant rescinded

the grant from the kansas arts commission was pulled back....
due to this very uncomfortable economy we are currently living in...
ah,...tough news to receive, eh?

mural update

A year ago today, the corner of 42nd and Mission Rd sat empty, riddled with trash, the wall bore chipping white and yellow paint, and a deep frost spat out by Old Man Winter covered the cracked asphalt.

Once again, Old Man Winter has officially arrived but, the 42nd Street Mural Project is far from cold.

The spring and summer months brought sweet change to the empty lot. White primer covered the cracking paint, tree limbs were pulled out and thrown away, and a garden was created with help of a local church, several local neighborhood youth and a small grant from the Thrivent Foundation.

But the ascetic enhancement, alone, was and could not be enough. The scope of our efforts had always included creating a youth collaborated mural.

Our original plan was to create, during the summer months, a large scale youth inspired mural with the help of Joe Faus.

Our funding hopefuls, however, always seemed to fall short. So in mid summer, when City Visionaries, an art organization that creates murals in KCMO, decided to sponsor (monetarily) a a portion of the project, we knew we had to shift our originals plans a bit. With limited time and funds, Mikey was able to secure the help of a local artist by the name of Holly Swangstu. She was a friend of Joe's and agreed to do two art enriched focus groups with youth from Rosedale and in turn take their ideas and create a collaborative 'art frame' for the site.

This endeavor would indeed leave a large portion of the wall white yet we believed the creativity displayed would yield a hopeful approach to the future of the lot.

Holly efforts have done just that.

After meeting with 6 to 8 young people, all of which attend school at Rosedale Middle Holly was able to pull the 'groups' ideas into a collaborative art piece.

By the end of august, at last, there was color on the walls of 42nd and Mission Road.

The work however isn't done, for there is still a plethora of white space on the walls. Holly's frame, though, has become the catalyst to an idea Mikey Fletcher likes to call the revolving mural...

Monday, November 3, 2008

kansas arts... at last.

mikey called me today with good news.
wendy was contacted last week by the kansas arts commission. remember that grant we worked on last year? well finally, at last... that money has come to light. it's $2000.00 dollar grant.

2 grand is a great start for the second tier of this project. while we will still have to seek further funding... receiving this grant is great, great news... makes one hopeful... and as one of my teenage volunteers (hannah zimmerman) here at the library told me the other day... if you don't have hope, you have nothing.



ps. i went to vote early today. the line was wrapped around and around and around and around all of olathe. looks like it's tmrw for me... ;-)cheers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

it's the fall. the unfallen apple holds its' brightness a little longer into the blue air. holds the idea. it can be brighter.

fall has arrived, eh? yes indeed.

I've found myself once again inudated with 'things to do'... 'things to prepare for'... and 'things to get done'. I apologize for my absence.

the first stage of the 42nd mural project is just about done. holly will work a bit more on the pillars... she will soften the red and blue hue so as to steer clear of any 'gang' association.

Mikey and I went to the School Board meeting two weeks ago and talked to them briefly about the project. 3 minutes is all we got. ;-)

Joe will venture into Rosedale Middle School at the first of the month to work with the
8th grade art students.

We still need to find funding. 'still' may always be the adverb to reckon with...
we will simply let it be our motivator, eh?

I will write an update on the mural project for the RDA this next month... mostly to say...

hold on to the idea...

Monday, September 22, 2008

today is autumn...

and sweet september always tells a good story...

before I tell you about my day, I must mention a musical I saw over the weekend.

my very kind scientist took me to see clay on friday. clay is a one man act that revolves in...resonates about...relishes on... the intensity and importance of hip hop as the voice of, often times, the forgotten. check it out if you find time.

On to today,...
mondays are my long days; I teach creative writing at Cristo Rey at 830am and then I have to be back at the library by noonish to work an 8 hour shift...

;-). anyone who knows me knows this is good for me... quite outside my normal box, eh? ah, yeah.

In between teaching at Cristo Rey and heading back to the library I met with Mikey and Connie, the principle at Rosedale Middle School. Mikey wanted to get her all caught up on the mural's progression as well as chat about the future.

She is going to hook us up with a particular contact within the school system that handles art initiatives in respects to finding additional funding.

Joe Faus, begins his work with the 8th graders at Rosedale Middle School in mid October. Amazingly he has agreed to working without any real secure sense of funding. bless him, eh?


Mikey is also no longer a paid staff member at the RDA, so his work on this project is now on a volunteer basis. bless him, eh?


As I stood in the middle school today, listening to mikey chat with a young lady I didn't quite know, I allowed my mind to wander a bit...venturing my eyes around the room: I gazed out the window...up at the ceiling...and then across to a bulletin board where I found an interesting quote about planting seeds and watching them grow... it makes me wonder are ideas more about the roots or what is sowed?

aren't the metaphors in life divine? ;0)


Mikey and I will present a mini description of the mural's history and hopes at the upcoming board meeting. Mikey posted the date for that meeting below...if you can come to the Middle School that night come lend your support.

have a good week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sorry I am late getting this put up:::
USD 500 School Board Meeting at Rosedale Middle School 5:00 on Oct. 14
3600 Springfield.
We are hoping to pack the place to show the school board that this community means business! We are not going to sit by and watch our children fall away to drugs, crime, and riff raff. We are her to support our children, give them positives and watch them take care of us in 50 years!

So, come on out to this thing.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

fall has arrived...

fall has arrived...
and rainy days are a constant on the horizon.

After work yesterday, I ventured down to the Leedy Gallery to meet with
Mikey, Joe, Holly, and Kara (Rosedale Middle School~Art Teacher).

What we came up with was a start schedule for Joe to begin working with Kara's Art Students.

Interestingly, Rosedale divides Kara's classes by gender. Her eighth grade art students~this semester~are all girls, and she figures in January it will shift to all boy classes.


None-the-less Joe will start in mid october and visit her class each thursday and friday.

The will work together in respects to sketching and thematic ideas throughout the semester.

While Joe and Kara are doing that, Mikey and I will focus on securing funding.

The ultimate hope: if this year's initiative is fruitful... the district will put some money behind it.

cross your fingers; dot your heart.


ps. there is a school board meeting at Rosedale Middle School next month, Mikey is hoping to get as many people there as possible...(mikey~will you put the date here on the blog?)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

august breeze

august has been cooler than expected this year. 

instead of staunch heat that is as still as a Greek statue , the breeze is sweet and the airs spins about. 

this morning was no exception.

heading down to the 39th street district near kumed for breakfast, we slipped by the mural site.
and just as I thought, holly and several youth from the area were out painting. 

we honked and waved before heading over to Cafe 39. breakfast as usual was wonderful.

after breakfast and a minor search for a pirate hat, we went back over and chatted with holly and the youth.

they were having lunch.  a neighborhood member had stopped and dropped off water.  holly informed me that they'd been out on the lot since 9am and planned to stay until around 5pm.

It's difficult for me to articulate how pleased I am with this project... this community deserves this mural and much more... I just hope that we can push forward and secure funding for the remaining part of this project as well as establish a community garden.  

there is still so much work to be done....
but the august breeze instills a sense of true belief in tomorrow's potential. 

cheers. happy holiday.


Friday, August 29, 2008

revolving mural initiative

'revolving mural initiative' defined:

a core portion (Holly's Part) of art will remain on the wall, serving as a 'frame' of sorts for the revolving art which will change each year per 8th grade art class from Rosedale Middle School.

we will hopefully be able to scan holly's notes and sketches, as well as the scientist's sketch and hopes for the garden area within the next few days.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Make Time To Change a Life

click to view flier large.

For more information about how you can make a difference in the Rosedale community, please contact Donna Devine at (913) 627-0312 or by e-mail at
i rained something fierce last night.
i awoke to soft breathing,
thunder, and

after closing a window and perching my
room door open--just in case payton woke up
frightened--i nestled back into sighing arms and a sweet sleep.

i love sleeping against the sound of a storm and
as with all storms... a rainbow emerged quickly the next morning...

well a rainbow metaphor that is...

checking my email I found a message from Anne Huffman from Dykes Medical Library at KUMC. the email had a flier attached.

Now I'd chatted with Sarah McQueeny a couple days ago and she informed me that after tons of discussion and work Dykes Medical Library will offer tutoring and programming for the youth of Rosedale.

I was ecstatic to hear the news, and now today seeing the flier promoting the endeavor... well, it all just hit me...: change is so possible. it is. it just takes time.

and I know I say such things frequently,
but you have to understand, I remember sitting in meetings at Dykes over the last year about the possibility of such an effort.... discussing the potential.... and for it all to come to pass.... well; I'm just at a loss of words... or really I'm not, ;-) but you feel me, yes?

I hope so.

The very fierce ladies: Wendy Wilson, Anne Huffman, Sarah McQueeny, Karen Cole, and the very divine Donna Devine... are movers and shakers, baby'.

The project is called The 39th Street Crew.

cheers... once again
to change.

ps. I will post the flier above; if you have time to volunteer please contact, as the flier will detail, Donna Devine.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

garden phase

the scientist did indeed say he would lead these efforts;
a rain, watering structure is something he feels quite
passionate about as well mikey.

I will see when he can get out to the lot
to brainstorm; and we will in turn rock
out the lowe's grant.

sound good, eh?

happy sunday funday.

It's.. MIKEY!!

Hello all~
My name is Mikey and I am the other part of this project. Thanks Angel for letting me have a louder voice.

As a quick update as to where we are currently in the project, artist Holly Swangstu has led two design sessions with 8 local neighborhood kids. Holly showed me the sketches for the first phase of the mural and they look great. She will begin priming on 8-22-08 and start painting on 8-24-08. She is responsible for doing a border over the top of the wall which is designed to be the unifying and only permanant art on the mural.

Phase 2 of the project will be led by Joe Faus and the Mrs. Moore's 8th grade art class at Rosedale Middle School. Each year the new class will get a chance to design and cover over the previous year's mural.

The last phase which is ongoing, is the Garden Phase. We have a small portion of this completed, but are looking forward to creating a garden "mural" of sorts. I would like to see a structure of some type that acts as a source of shade as well as a rain catchment for the garden.

Thanks to everyone for their support and interest in the project.


jan mcconnell

it's sunday funday.

;-) I've added another noteworthy blog to my list down below.
jan mcconnell is my friend and colleague. she has been on quite
the adventure this year as she's pursued a democratic delegate spot to denver. check her out; lend her your ear...

she's a solider's mama for obama!

Friday, August 15, 2008

angel's thursdays are currently my day off...

but days off aren't really days off are they? I leave such thoughts to sunday funday...;-)

so, so,

I awoke slowly on it was my first official day off in....weeks.

A very kind scientist passed my name on to Sue Babson, a journalist at the Kansas City Star. I started the morning with a pleasant conversation with her.

She will feature me next sunday in the weekly spot, "how I got the job."

I enjoyed talking to her about the work I do at the library and I am very excited for the opportunity to be featured.


I had plans to meet with Mikey at Black Dog Coffee Shop around 5ish but I quickly realized I'd have to push it back a couple hours for shane evans was hosting an Barack Obama community forum at 6pm.

Me and Mikey agreed on 7ish.

Payton and I had several daily adventures but ended up in downtown kcmo around 5ish. Payton had an appointment with his grandparents in the country, and I wanted to slip by the kcmo public library's main branch to check out their newest exhibit: Woman of a New Tribe (the contemporary black woman).

With Payton and Grandma off, I walked across a bustling block and up a piercing hill to the KCMO public library. Every time I walk up the marble steps of this beautiful building my heart skips a beat. It is a stunning facility. The people both inside and out of this library are always eclectic and diverse... and if you're lucky as I was yesterday...

'a city bus would slip pass you with a gritty grunt as you're walking over a sidewalk gutter with rivulets of smoke swirling from its' slight rectangular openings. your nose would immediately relish in the moment and a 'samantha' tickle tickle would cross your face. looking up, you would sigh, inhale, exhale. Your eyes would blink; open, close, open; and the stream of each subtle passing conversation would flow together into one very important reflection: hold fast to dreams; they are in the every day.'

;-) ...

so...I enjoyed the exhibit indeed. the photographs on display captured the vast spectrum of african american woman in our country; and relished in the spirit and importance of family.

The library was actually hosting an event later that evening featuring african american woman of grace and movement in kansas city, but my desire to attend shane's event and meet with Mikey kept me from staying. I hope to attend another event next thursday on black woman in politics.

so, I booked it over to shane's studio and enjoyed my time there as usual. I signed up to receive information on possibly volunteering for the campaign & I picked up a great packet of information regarding Obama's stance on key issues.

Most importantly, I was able to, once again, bear witness to two teenage performers perform original spoken word poetry and song. I saw them at an event in May at Shane's studio, and was blown away.

The performers are members of a young adult group of poets and singers from paseo high school. The founder is Robert, to whom I met last night; Robert is 16 years old and amazing. I will post information about them in the next couple days as I left my notes at home. ;-) Mostly, I must, must, must get these young people involved with elementia!

After shane's I booked it to overland park to meet mikey. we had a good time. we hashed out a plan to raise $2000.00 in a month. We will venture out into the community next friday to chat with businesses and I am going to set up a pay pal donation account here on the blog. Mikey wants us to maintain a strong push into september so as to restrain from any sort of stagnent--ness.

We put together the skeleton of a project plan to implement this mural into the art curriculum at Rosedale Middle School over a year span. Once we have it fined tuned I will post it.

Mikey informed me that he met with Mindy, pastor of the church of young people who worked out on the lot in July, with hopes that her group would commit a monthly adventure alongside the RDA in regards to community work. She did indeed agree!

Rosedale Middle School started school today and hopefully we will set up a meeting with Mrs. Moore, the art teacher, soon enough.

We ended our evening with a sweet acoustic rendition of Ice Ice Baby. ;-) yep, yep, yep, vanilla ice,... baby'. It was high school band night at the coffee shop. Or maybe it was college students... it's hard for me to tell nowadays.


My thursday ended on the shoulder of the scientist...watching a very fierce, beautiful, young lady in sparkling pink win the all around gold medal in gymnastics...I, once again, sighed and reflected on the sweet notion of desired & acquired dreams...

imagine it,
dear friends.
can be.

i promise.

Friday, August 8, 2008

shane evans
i will also add shane's blog down with my other noteworthy blogs.
shane is an amazing artist and social change activist.

no is no; si' is yes

i opened this email from mikey this morning:

Hey Angel~
This is the Arts Endowment grant. The deadline is AUgust 11!!!!! Can we do it?

ah, what would I do with out mikey? ;-)

I do think we will attempt this grant.

Mikey met with the art teacher at Rosedale Middle School yesterday, or maybe the day before, and she is extremely excited about using the mural site in her 8th grade curriculum and initiatives this year. She informed mikey that her budget of $1600 from last year was cut in half. $800 dollars is now her budget for an entire year.

Mikey and I both, have always believed that this mural site can be a catalyst for positive change in Rosedale; a venue, really, for civic & artistic pride... a reminder that a constant source of creativity in life can certainly... be seeds of hope.

Though, the question has & will always be--how much change; how much hope?

how many young people, community members, should benefit--or take part in this project. Should it be a one time event--paint a mural, bask in it's beauty and walk away-- or should it be a revolving project-- engaging the youth and community members at large for years to come...

I often say, the only constant is change...
and so mikey said yesterday, with subtle conviction, why can't this mural revolve, change, be reborn each year with each new class of 8th graders.
ah, ha!
why not?

murals aren't generally created with such

and so, we are thinking this may be the road to venture down...
as mr. nicholls shared a few posts back:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

making... a difference

shall we?

si'. we should.

or rather,
we have to.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I've added four noteworthy blogs to the bottom link area of my blog.
please take a peek.

kelly is a photographer
mikey fletcher is a social change artist
sean tucker is a scientist that just returned
from a 8 month adventure in south
jon nicholls is a teacher, among many other things, in london.

jon is one of four contributors to this blog. Sophie, Isabel and Veronica
blog as well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

power washer and um'

only picture as of now... & no, I don't usually wear dresses
to clean up lots but I was multi-tasking--i stopped by during my break from work. ;-)
the real labor photos are coming soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

did you know... si'?

that poison ivy is shaped like a hand? I didn't. A gentleman cutting and pulling dead leaves and trees from the top of the wall on saturday found tons of it. 

as a writer I can't help put ponder on the metaphor of a hand that will poison you, leave you red, in pain, scarred, tortured...ah....a tannnngennnnnnt.  

I suppose I should make like michelle obama and try not to add to the militant black woman image flowing about & around the 'New Yorker', oh wait,... I mean the US of A. 

tickle; tickle.  ;-)

so, so, so
 the group of young people from the Nazerene church, led by Mindy Hancock, spent more than two hours on saturday preparing the lot and walls for our artist, Holly Swangstu,  and a group of young people to create artistic splendor.  

The group power washed just about all of the wall..., and I will say, I ventured upon the power washer for about 5's serious work.  The amount of mold and dirt that has caked itself, ingrown itself, manifested itself on that wall is ridiculous... and I never, ever use the word ridiculous. ;-)

as I mentioned above, one gentleman cut and pulled tons of trees and limbs from the top of the wall, which was a dire need, for Holly's portion of the mural will be on the top part of the wall. 

others picked up trash, pulled limbs from lower crevices, and broom-ed up broken glass. 

Mikey led the group, as he is--a rock star, 
but I, 
     and you, 
            already knew 


i will post pictures soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

with a little help from friends...

'what would you do if i sang out of tune? would you stand up and walk out on me...lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song...and I'll try not to sing out of key'

Mikey and Wendy met with an artist on Wednesday and signed a contract with her. she will embark on an august endeavor to bring color to the wall!

we will meet with her and a nice sized group of youth on the first two saturdays in august... to hash out ideas~workshop style. the artist will in turn create a collobrative sense of artistic beauty and.... paint... create .... embellish on the empty white wall at 42nd and Mission Rd.

Holly Swangstu is our artist; she has an extensive amount of experience working with young adults on such projects. She graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and is the director of the Leedy Voulkos Art Center in KC, MO. She is also a colleague and a friend of Joe Faus--the other artist involved with this project.

I will attach her resume and such on the side panel. please take a peek if you have time.

there will also be an opportunity to prep the wall/lot for Holly's endeavors on Saturday July 26th in the afternoon hours. thanks to my friend brian longfellow & and his friend and pastor mindy hancock, we have the commitment of 20 or so volunteers from the Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Rosedale

we will powerwash the wall, do a bit more garden prep, and hopefully pull out some excess weeds and trees. I will post an exact time in the next few days.

cheers, eh?
to change;
to friends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

sunday funday

it's sunday funday.

mikey and i have two meetings this week with artists. Joe and a new fella.

i have still not worked on the lowe's grant application. mikey figured that we should approach our garden efforts seperate from our mural efforts and lowe's has grant opportunties for such projects. it is my goal to rock out that application this week.

on a side note...

i had class on saturday in emporia. it was a course focused upon international children's literature, which was very interesting and now has my itching at the idea of a PHD is international literacy.... ah, can you imagine? ;-)

one thing that I found most interesting was the international digital library
based out of the University of Maryland. it is an amazing online collection of international children's books. the site was designed by children and is completely browsable without reading--symbols are used creating this 'univeral' accessibility. so a child from iran and a child from china can browse just the same, eh?


I will link the website below. I really enjoy the art work in books from Persia.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

summer time flies and still things take time; as they should.

it's hard to believe it is nearly the middle of july...
and the walls at 42nd and mission road are still bare.

mikey and i went out and walked rosedale a bit yesterday
to pass out information regarding the project.

if i had one wish I'd wish for 2 more hours in this
24 hour spread we call days... for maybe...just maybe
there'd be a realm of color on the wall...

ah... hope paired with wishful thought
equates the dire need for change...
yet change should never be considered wishful, eh?

summer time may fly, but I am certain it will also tell...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have determined that apart of my adventure in rosedale, because I am a writer and a librarian, should involve writing and sharing books.

you may say, 'you don't say, eh?'.
tickle. tickle.

here is a PDF (below)to the RDA's monthly newsletter. I wrote two articles--one on the mural project and another about two great books.

mikey gave me a new name in thearticle: social change artist and student...which made me smile...

Monday, June 9, 2008


saturday june 7th

mikey gathered several neighborhood kids together so that we could finish up the planting we started last week. i was so excited to arrive at the lot and find seven young adults from the rosedale area.


we went through the process of planting the flowers as a team. several of the young people applied more primer to the wall. they made me turn my radio dial to 92. something... ;-)
and I made them listen to a little lauryn hill--to whom they'd never heard of.

generational difference, eh?

mostly we had a great time and we once again made connections with the community by just being out there. a young man who'd just started a non-profit organization focused upon creating safter communities stopped by and exchanged information with us. Aidan, who lives next door,
stopped by and insisted we use her water. people honked. waved.

what a word.

I must say, that I was never quite sure where this project would lead and honestly we still don't know for sure.... but the journey: the meetings... the conversations... the connections.... the ideas...

are moments I will soon not forget.

cheers~besos~have a good week.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I woke up today with a sunburn. who knew brown people could get sunburned?! ;-) Dwight from Lutheran Finacial. This is the 4th year they have sponsored Join Hands Day in Rosedale.

Reggie and Mr. Longfellow.

Reggie and Phay.

Reggie walked away covered, like I, in white specks of paints.

ideas, like gardens, are in bloom

Here is a part of Aidan's email to me today:

" This fall, we should think about planting tulip and daffodil bulbs--maybe have them as the border for the grand butterfly. "

;-). a tulip garden party this fall sounds delighful, eh?

join hands day

join hands day went well.

one part of our future butterfly garden is just about complete...

while, we also painted over all the yellow & gray areas on the wall.

a nice young man named Reggie, who lives two houses down from the lot helped us with both the painting and the planting. And Dwight from Lutheran Financial diligently planted the bushes and flowers with Mikey and Phay.

Mr. Brian Longfellow once again came over and mowed. While, several people from the community stopped by to chat with us about the project.

One young lady in particular, who lives next to the lot, came down and displayed an immense interest in helping out in the future. She works for the school of medicine at kumed and she had amazing things to say about the neighborhood. She offered up her hose for future projects. Her eyes sparkled as she shared her ideas for the lot's future....

Her name is Aidan Loveland Koster, and I do believe I will add her to my movers and shakers in rosedale list.

I will add photos above.

Friday, May 30, 2008

at last...

at last the arts commission grant is done.

I got down to kumed about 830 this morning.
I had to turn in my timesheet and make a few
corrections to the grant.

I spent the remainder of the morning at the RDA
with mikey. we looked over the grant; as did Wendy.
She noticed a few points to change. And I vowed to
correct, bind, and mail it off today. I was going to ride
it down to topeka; it will always be my belief that there is
no better connection than the face to face...
...but as always there is never enough

so...wish us luck.
have a good weekend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June 1st event

If you are able...Sunday June 1st...1-4pm...come out to 42nd and Mission Rd. We will plant flowers, shrubs, and...what else mikey?
ah,...I kid mikey.
The sky shined something sweet by the afternoon on saturday so chris padgett, a young adult I know from my public library, went out to the 42nd Street lot to paint the sign to prompt attention to the coming mural.

Chris Padgett just graduated from high school, just turned 18 years old, and just at this very moment stepped up to the desk here at the library. ;-)

He is a tremendously talented young man--he worked on the intellectual freedom mural here at the library and created 3 original t-shirts for the fashion show last month. He's also very important to me in respects to him simply being him.

I will post pictures above.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I woke up to a steady rain fall and a text from mikey. it read: It's rainy. should we postpone?

we did.

mikey re-scheduled the event for Sunday June 1st; in the afternoon.

I will resend information via email on tuesday.

I am off to a much desired break; have a good holiday weekend.
friday we made preperations for join hands day.
we took a trip to lowes.
brian finished mowing.
mikey created the design for the plants, flowers and shrubs.
my step-father adrian came down and sawed down
some trees and set up his generator for mikey's till.
we also picked up some trash.

the overcasted gray sky loomed above and we wondered
& hoped the rain would stay away.

prep for "join hands day"

my dear friend brian longfellow cutting the grass above. my stepfather and mikey working out the generator below.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

sometimes it only takes a moment...

i just read an email from mikey, here's a part of it:

Hi Angel~ So I was out disc golfing and met your friend Brian. He was cutting the grass and said he will come back tommorow to finish it up. I was looking at the area around the sign and came up with a kind of neat idea for the landscaping. Think butterfly~~~

what I find most endearing about both mikey and brian resides in this very moment.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

with mikey at "ze' lake" I was able to sit at his computer and work on finalizing the Arts Commission grant.

there's a buzz here at the RDA...the recycle buzz mostly. The door opens, chimes, and Linda goes to work explaining the new program to interested residents.

I enjoy the bustle, as do I enjoy re-reading the fortune cookie taped to mikey's monitor:
'Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century'.

yeah. lets ;-)

I added a link to information on Joe Faus, our muralist, to the side panel.

I also added pertinent demographic information to the grant app... you may be interested in the info:

Rosedale is a community in Kansas City, Kansas. We are a lower income ethnically diverse community in the urban core. Our overall education level is low and the population is fairly transient in nature due to high levels of rental property. KU medical Center along with 400 area business sits within Rosedale. 22.5% of youth 18-24 years of age have not completed high school or earned a GED. Our middle school population is 53% Hispanic, 21% African American, 21% Caucasian and 5% Asian. 85% of students are on free or reduced cost meals. Our median household income was $28,573 in the 2000 U.S Census.

I love the idea: ethnically diverse. such beauty in that idea, yes?
what I wish most? To get more people from KUMC aware of the mentoring opportunties available in this community. What's the Dean's hope? 8 hours of community service in 2008.
Rosedale awaits you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

keep your fingers crossed

no word from the pending grant. results were supposed to come out today,
but it seems as if it may be a bit. I looked at the awards from last winter and grants
were issued over a two week span. so, keep your fingers crossed. mikey confirmed with
Dwight, who is our connection to Thrivent Financial, that we would do thrivent day aka
join hands day on May 24th. It looks like the am is a better fit for his organization so we will
do it from 9-12noon.

ah, yes, I know what I said...;-) we can still have such an adventure later in the evening.
but I will have to break away and work at Central from 1230-5pm.

mikey and I will shop for plants and such late next week and likely prep the lot on
friday the 23rd--ie. chop down trees & prime a bit.

remember....keep your fingers crossed regarding the grant. ;-)

& hey, mikey--congrats on graduation!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

windy pictures

Home Depot and Me

I picked up 10 gallons of primer today from Home Depot. This purchase was donated by the Spanish Round Table Group, thanks to the recommendation of Amanda Myers.

Amanda is a student in Public Health as well as Medicine at KUMC.

remember her name... for from what I've seen, she's a mover and a shaker ;-)...more great things will certainly come from her.

oh, & Home Depot is a big place...several very nice gentleman helped me find primer, shake primer, and load primer into my trunk.

Monday, May 12, 2008

field trip

mikey and I met today at the RDA and quickly decided to take a field trip out to the mural's location.

we needed to figure out how we wanted to 'rock' the thrivent day event and figured inspiration could only come from being in the actual environment.

like many times before, standing on the lot at 42nd and Mission, I was amazed by it's vast size.

we discovered trash that needed to be removed, trees that needed to be cut down and removed, large holes of water that need to be filled... and most importantly: a water source.

we've always known we would have to spray down the wall prior to any primer or paint application and have fretted over where we would get water from....

voula' there is a water hydrant...or is it a fire hydrant?
;-) it's one of those, yes?

we took pictures, walked through the over grown high cricket chirping grass, much to my dismay ;-), and chatted about the upcoming event on May 24th.

We've pretty much decided on removing the trash and trees; mowing the grass, filling the holes, priming the wall, planting flowers--trees, and creating a mini art piece on a sign that sits at the forefront of the lot. This mini art piece will display future spot of The 42nd YouthMural Project. On the back of the sign we hope to list the names of every single person that has contributed to this project.

We will need to get certain things approved via the property owner and with Wendy, but Thrivent Day is seemingly planned!

We will need volunteers... so email me if you're interested. It will likely be in the afternoon, and we are hoping to pull in 5th graders from Frank Rushton, a group mikey and joel work with, to help with the landscaping. I will publish more information about the Thrivent Grant that helped fund this particular event once I have the precise details from Mikey.

Ya' know, I read an article several months ago about ascetics and community pride: Civic pride is often associated with the aesthetic and visual qualities of a community — qualities that make a community unique among its neighbors and special to its residents.

I do believe our efforts on May 24th will reside within this very regard.

Friday, May 9, 2008


I heard back from Amanda today.
Looks like $140 for supplies!
I'm thinking we will certainly apply
it to things we will need on May 24th.

I will link the organization that she is
involved with on the side panel.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

trying to keep it all together

April's showers are supposed to bring May's flowers...yes? but May has only really brought deadlines for me... a never ending headache really, not to mention I feel a cold coming on---the infamous sore throat~ da da da da ;-), and my right leg is painfully numb. I'm drinking more water than I ever hope of some change in both regards... And then there is the semester, which is just about over; I am trying desperately to wrap up several school projects...

but this, friends, is neither here nor there, is it? keep me focused! ;-)

In terms of mural progress:

Mikey sent me an email early in the week about a new grant opportunity.

We need to finalize and submit the grant to the Kansas Arts Commission.

I spoke briefly with Terry Hansen, co-president of LMMSA, about his organizations donation and also a potential donation from a group called Spanish Round Table here at KUmed. I believe they are med-students who are spanish speaking and meet as a venue of communication~ communication geared mostly towards the medical lingo, etc'. I have emailed the contact person, Amanda Myers, and I look forward to the potential donation. Looks like they would like to purchase products for us...which I'm thinking we can tie into Thrivant Day on the 24th...


Mostly, Mikey and I need to get back in to Rosedale Middle School & figure out our plan for Thrivant Day.

I will post this weekend after I finish up school stuff...

with a sore throat & a very heavy heart, I wish you each a good weekend...

to mr. fletcher and his bride--happy graduation!
to mr. and mrs. sime congrats on the little one~place a kiss on his cheek from me! I must say, I miss you already, kelly~ warm thoughts.

Friday, May 2, 2008

pictures from the read in

back to school

I arrived at Rosedale Middle School today at about 920am. There were at least 25 community members in the library awaiting their placement in a classroom. We were each given 30 minutes in two seperate classes. I brought Zen Shorts, The Collected Poems of Nikki Giovanni, and elementia--the young adult literary magazine I edit at JOCO library.

Mikey, Wendy, and Joel from the RDA were there. Mr. Joe Faus, our muralist, was there...
as were Anne, Lynn, and Julie from Dykes Library.

Now, due to Mikey, distracting me, first, with his overgrown beard and then,second, with stories of sharks in thailand ;-) I missed the 1st classroom session.

yes! that's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)

Have I told you that Mikey is born two days before me; same year! yeah, distraction occurs. ;-)

But anyway, I did manage to make my way down the long hallway to Mr.Corrick's classroom for the second session. I peered into the door's window and immediatlely recognized one young man from tutoring.

There were about 15 students in the classroom and I enjoyed every minute of it. As I always do when reading and sharing poetry with young people, I had them read some of it outloud. The coolest thing was when a young man read a poem published in elementia that was written by a young girl. He knew her, was excited that she was in elementia, and read her very "girl" powered poem outloud.

They also seemed to really like Zen Shorts. They wanted to change Stillwater's name to Montario so, I changed it. They seemed tickled by my willingnes to do so.

At the very end, I did a few impromptu book talks on "Road of the Dead" by Kevin Brooks and "Black and White" by Paul Valoponi.

Two particular girls showed real interest in submitting to elementia, and I have set it up with the principal to return sometime next week with submission forms. Luckily, I'd dropped off 10 or so copies of elementia with their librarian earlier that morning.

I then got to walk the halls during the "in between" class stage. It was interesting & loud. I ran into another young man from tutoring and he had all his friend take a peek at my chuck taylors. chuck taylors are very important you see, and he said to his friends, now, if only we can get her to buy a pair of cortezs'. ;-) This young man is very witty and is always a bit difficult to contain at tutoring. Last time I worked with him, I found him a book on low riders. He seemd dis-interested at the time, but a social welfare student informed me today that he'd mentioned that book several times since that encounter. That made me smile; it really did.

Before leaving, Mikey and I paid a quick visit to the art teacher's classroom and she gave us the names of at least 10 or so potential kids to include in the mural this summer. We will hopefully go back next week to meet with the group.

"Thrivant Day" is May 24th. We will clean up/ beautify as much as we can at the mural location. If you'd like to help out, come on with it! email me. I will have more specific information on that soon and will certainly post.

have a good weekend; it's may, time for flowers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

rosedale read in

I dropped off a second box of books at Rosedale Middle School today. Carrie McDonald, from KCMO public, once again came to my aid and donated several boxes of YA books. I contacted her on behalf of HillTop--a facility for youth in Kansas City Missouri. I will take the majority of the donation to them but figured with the news of Rosedale's Read In she wouldn't mind me pushing some of the donation into Rosedale Middle School.

Let me just say, KCMO public library has a fantastic array of books...& up to date books at that.

Tamar, Road of the Dead, The Uglies, Speak, Burned. These titles fly off the shelves at any given library and because of Carrie I am able to put those books in the hands of young adults.

She's a fierce; fierce lady. If you are in the KCMO area and are ever in need of books; she's a true resource.

So now to Rosedale Middle School.

They are having a read in tomorrow-- an effort of the ku social welfare students that serve and interact with the students. They have asked that community members come out and read in class rooms tomorrow. Each teen will also receive a free book. I think they will also have local illustrators there to talk about the arts and such.

I attempted to use my magic librarian wand, yes, I have one! ;-) to persuade shane evans to come out, but he was booked. ah, can you believe that! ;-) shane is a superstar, so it wasn't a surprise. you know who he is? He's an amazing illustrator, artist, writer, extraordinaire; I will link his website. check him out.

Mikey and I plan on sitting down before the read in to fine tune some mural details. We hope to touch base with some artistic kids that would be interested in participating.

Our first event on the property is coming up....Thrivant Day at the end of May. I will have more information on that after tomorrow.

happy thunderstorms!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

trust me

I enjoyed observing the salsa dancers last night.

A gentleman I went to undergrad with happened to be there and he hadn't changed one bit; on the dance floor all night!

I always enjoyed watching him "stroll" in college. "Strolling" is a common dance tradition within African American fraternities and sororities--generally at parties--choreographed line dancing is what it basically is...

Gabe, the gentleman I ran into, was always a great stroller and that transcended quite easily into salsa dancing. He was fun to watch. He twirled the ladies around all night.

I didn't get out on the dance floor myself.

ah, I know... give me a break; one can't be a rock star everyday.

I sat back chatted with two friends from work, ended the evening with a free drink, thanks to the bartender, and participated in a little political banter with Terry and another soon to be docta', Brad. We chatted up the latest Obama fiasco. Reverand Wright...wowsa', eh?

it resonates in that old school New Edition 80's hit..."sunny days? everybody loves them. tell me baby', can you stand the rain? storms will come."

well, at least for me. ;-)

But... back to the evening; it was a quaint crowd, with a nice array of music and traditional Latin appetizers.

I am grateful that the Latino Medical Students Association pursued such an event on behalf of the mural project, and it is my hope that the organization will seek & maintain a connection with the youth in Rosedale in the future.

Rosedale is what? 51% hispanic....

Would you like to know what happens when young teens look into the eyes of young adults who culturally look and resemble them?

Their eyes widen and you can literally see the thoughts rolling in their heads.... they made it to medical schoool....maybe I can too.

trust me.

it's called destiny.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

salsa & nostalgia

the Latino medical students salsa fundraiser is tonight! despite two large projects due Wednesday and Thursday I am going to salsa/ procrastinate the night away.

proceeds, partial, I believe, will go to the RDA for the 42nd mural project; which is exciting.

oh, and mikey informed me last week that city visionary has slipped the RDA a nice $2000.00 for the mural. yes! wowsa! ;-)

City Visionary does murals throughout Kansas city Missouri.

They sat down with us early on in our planning and shared knowledge regarding potential artists, who had experience working with youth and they also shared a mock budget--which was extremely helpful.

Their organization referred artist Joe Faus . He is an amazing artist who works diligently with the organization Maddie Rose. Maddie Rose fosters and cultivates the arts within the vast Hispanic community of Kansas city. Joe's done a few youth murals and is extremely talented. After only one meeting, Wendy knew he was the one. I will try and locate information on city visionary & Maddie Rose and post it to the side bar.

Mikey and I met with Joe down at one of Maddie Rose's art studios several weeks ago...

ah...there is nothing more spectacular than the colorful, vibrant nature of Hispanic art.

Now, I did grow up in Los Angeles, CA so I may be a bit bias,
bearing witness to such art
filled me up with
great sense of nostalgia.

Monday, April 21, 2008

logic vs

reflecting on the past 7 months is not as easy as I thought it would be...mostly because I sit in meetings and take notes in a journal...

I dig journals.

if i were more logical, though, I would have separate journals for the separate projects I play about in....but, I tend to use one journal for an unset amount of time. I record my thoughts, to do lists, and other important scribbles for every single endeavor I've got going.

and so this makes it hard to look back and decipher what is what...

yes, I know; I am a librarian, and librarians are known for organizing information...

I though, am peculiar by sheer nature, and I am, and will likely always be, a work in progress.

Monday, April 7, 2008

from the beginning...

I learned early on in my graduate studies, that I communicate in circles--twists and turns. I never tell a story or give an account in chronological order. Even now, my mind is telling me to share a poem with you that immediately popped into mind as I typed the words 'twists and turns'. ;-)

I will digress from sharing it with you now, but will post it later in the comment field of this post.

Because I know my sharing style can be jagged, I figured it would be a good idea, before I go any further in describing our progress with this mural, to describe how and why this mural idea really came to be.

As my profile says, I am a graduate student at Emporia State University. I am pursuing a masters' degree in Library and Information Science. Last Fall, or rather, last July, I began work on a practicum at KU med center through Dykes Medical Library. I wanted to focus on outreach work and the ways in which a health librarian could be of service in that regard. Because I enjoy working with young people, Pediatrics seemed like a good place to start.

Getting involved with Pediatrics was quite easy. I sat down with the head nurse of the wing, Kristine Brees, and she put me in connection with Andrea Kennedy Smith, the Child Life Specialist in her unit.

I generally went into PEDs about twice a week, I pulled in juvenile book donations from William Allen White Library in Emporia and adult books from Kansas City Missouri Public Library.

I visited with kids--played games, read books, held babies. And while my experiences were engaging and fruitful, my adviser, Candice Boardman, kept saying there has to be more... She pushed me to look deeper and try and determine what a professional outreach health librarian could do on a broader more fluid level.

I sat down with Karen Cole, the dynamic library director of Dykes Library, and we hashed out ideas. We figured maybe offering access to medical databases may be the answer and/or offering pamphlets on different services offered by the library. But Pediatrics is place of families under stress~books to read and time spent is a divine intervention~'the medicalness' if you don't mind me making up a word, is not what I believe they need... not from a librarian. What's golden is the interaction--the maintenance and sharing of literature, and quite possibly literature based programming.

I would love to see a set story-time in KU's pediatrics unit or something similar. I suppose that is still a possibility...

Realizing what I did about PEDs, made me step back a bit. I began to look at the potential of being not only a outreach source to PEDs but also to the outlining community.

ah...what about a community liaison?... the hospital sits in the community, as do the schools, and as do community centers. Why not cultivate relationships within these venues as well?

Now, generally, yes, such a role falls within the "public" library system, and Dykes is an academic library. But within this particular community, the pubic library consists of 3 locations. Because of this, I believe, it is hard not to find cracks in the amount and quality of service offered to the community. Cracks that have nothing to do with effort, but with resource and time

It's that good old quote, "it takes a village to raise a child', yes? yes.

Between the months of September and now, April, I have made subtle connections with the Rosdale Development Association, Rosedale Middle School, and the School of Social Welfare at KU. The school of social welfare for instance offers tutoring at Rosedale Middle School every Wednesday that I was able to get involved with... and then there has been a great buzz around Dykes Library on behalf of the persistent and diligent Anne Huffman, the director of Public Services, to get local kids engaged and involved in the health sciences. The stage is set to work with both Wendy Wilson of the RDA, and Donna Devine from the School of Social Welfare to offer and cultivate programming for young people of this community.

Remember the Cicades last summer? Remember how loud they were? It always made me think about the innate power that resonates when voices & people come together...

I must say that working in PEDs has been a real privilege...Andrea and another young lady Emily Hernandez ,a music specialist in PEDs, and most certainly the nurses in the unit do amazing work. I have to say, nurses make the world go 'round.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

action steps...i think...or are these goals mikey?

I stayed in contact with Wendy, Mikey, and Joel throughout old man winter. We learned early on that the owner of the lot was up for a mural creation on her property.

so without pause we established four main 'action steps'...

a. finding an artist to facilitate and guide the youth group effort

b. creating a budget

c. creating a timeline

d. finding & securing funding

e. establishing a core group of young artists from the community


I found the Rosedale Development Association with a simple google search. Their website was informative and linked me directly to Wendy Wilson, the executive director of the RDA.

The RDA's mission reads: Working in partnership with residents, businesses, and institutions to build a strong and healthy community and to improve the quality of life for those who live, work, and play in Rosedale.

I was beyond meet the group of people that made up the organization.

Delight sure followed...

I remember leaving my first meeting at the RDA people are as open & out there as I am. ;-) They were energetic and funny and they were more than willing to look into the possibility of doing a mural at the crossroad of 42nd and Mission.

I believe it was in our first meeting, that Wendy mentioned she knew the woman who owned the lot at 42nd and Mission...and that she would phone her directly. ;-)

Now, not only did I meet the fierce Wendy Wilson, but I also met Linda Wright~the go-to woman at the RDA, Joel Goering an RDA staff member with a degree in Global Peace & Justice Studies from Bethel College, and Mikey Fletcher-a social welfare student graduating in May from KU. Mikey is doing a practicum with the RDA.

Dynamic people indeed & by the end of the meeting we were dreaming of painting all of Rosedale. The grain elevators...the free-way over pass...and of course... the side walks.

for we all deserve a yellow brick road...yes?


early bird gets the worm...(september 2007)

I've never been one to rise early in the morning...I take great delight in sleeping in...but this past sweet, september, on serveral occasions, I found myself up at sunrise in route to a hospital perched on a hill.

The drive from overland park to KU med center would usually take just under 15 minutes. I was guided around the pitter-patter of morning traffic by a scientist, who swore to the quickest path--I-35 to the mission rd exit, up the hill to 42nd street, quick left onto 42nd street, down to rainbow, quick left on rainbow...and voula'.

The crossroad, though, at 42nd and mission would often hinder this quickness. As crossroads tend to do...

Due to the pause , I couldn't help but notice the empty lot with a large retaining wall sitting so empty on the corner. What a perfect place for a mural, yes? yes. I figured I'd call a local high school & see what they thought. Wesport High School!

The scientist quickly informed me that Westport High was in Missouri and that we were in Kansas. With that came another pause; ah, yes...

remember now, I am not an early riser.

He went on, as scientists do, to tell me exactly what to do: get in touch with some of the movers and shakers in Rosedale.

Rosedale? Where's Rosedale?

The scientist paused a bit, squinted his eyes, spun his fingers around, and said, this; all of this, is Rosedale.