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Give & Gibb

Give Back Art Show

Empowering the residents of Gibb Mansion

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ABOUT THE GIBB & GIVE GIVE BACK ART SHOW:

The UnSpace is committed to providing a positive social impact to underserved communities through art. The UnSpace is honored to partner with Impaact Brooklyn to host our Give & Gibb Give Back Art Exhibition on May 11th and May 12th, 2019 at our gallery in DUMBO. This exhibition will feature the work of the residents of The Gibb Mansion- underprivileged members of our community with unheard artistic voices.

Our Head Teaching Artist, Michelle Wen, has worked with Gibb Mansion for the past two years teaching ceramics to empower the residents through creativity. These resilient, aspiring artists have overcome hardships often associated with poverty - substance abuse, incarceration, as well as mental and physical disabilities. Art has allowed them to channel their creativity, which often heals and inspires them. Our exhibition will feature the work of these artists and 100% of the sale of each piece will go directly to each artist. We strive to create a platform for the residents of Gibb Mansion that will foster entrepreneurial skills that can create a path for more financial stability and opportunities. We are inspired and moved by the journeys of these talented individuals that have and are continuously overcoming adversity. Give & Gibb will celebrate and share their masterpieces with the DUMBO arts community.

CHECK OUT SOME OF THE WORK OF OUR ARTISTS!

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About Gibb Mansion

“The Gibb Mansion team goal is to provide excellence in best practice and due diligence through responsive and compassionate care, which forms the core of our social services. Clients will develop independence through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and behaviors essential to achieve and maintain healthy, balanced lives. We encourage client autonomy and promote self-worth through supportive social services that inspires confidence, creativity, purpose and independence. “

GIVE & GIBB: Our Story

Written and transcribed by Michelle Wen

In 2017, I entered Gibb Mansion for the first time as a Taconic fellow of Pratt Institute, along with professor Theodora Skipitares and Taconic fellow Angelica Croker. Not knowing what to expect, I was greeted immediately by the friendly staff of IMPACCT Brooklyn and the eager residents.

The Taconic fellowship has long since ended, but two years later, I cross the street on Gates Avenue. I can feel it before I even enter the building: Jenely’s infectious laugh, Petra’s delicious cooking, Jimmy Cooper greeting me in the lobby with, “What we doin’ today Michelle?”

To describe the tenants of Gibb as awe-inspiring would be modest. Every week I was surprised by their fresh and innovative ideas, their attention to detail, and their bubbling energy. Everyone is so different in their talents: Sandra churns out work like a factory, Donald Coble is  the perfectionist, Emilio the resolute strategist, Refugio the compassionate learner. If you hear us hollering from laughter it’s probably because of Jimmy, and of course the loads of other staff and tenants that drop by and keep the spirit going. The IMPACCT Brooklyn staff members are not only supportive and welcoming, they are participants.

The art room at Gibb is constantly bustling with new work, not to mention a lifetime’s worth of jokes, hot gossip, and life lessons: we’ve covered everything from dating, to politics, to eating frog legs. It has been a true privilege to listen to their stories of perseverance, to watch them cultivate their unique ideas, and find an outlet for creative expression. Every piece reflects the individuality of their maker.

The UnSpace listens to the voices of our community, and delivers real-world social impact. Today, the UnSpace celebrates two years worth of artwork by Brooklyn’s finest, and many more to come.

Let’s Meet The Artists!

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EMILIO GONZALEZ:

When did you start being creative?

It must have been around 9 years old. On the back of matchbook covers there was always this picture of a turtle. And i decided to draw it one day, and I said “oh wow I’m not that bad”, and my brother said, “yo you could be better just keep doin’ it”. So i got a little better at it. I kept drawing the turtle for a while, then i got into comic books and comic strips.

What does art mean to you?

For me, it’s a way for me to relieve my tensions, express myself a little bit. Even though it’s a round thing [pottery], i got that round thing and the thing that took me there, made it perfect, not perfect but just about like “yeah i like it.”

You used to be a carpenter and electrician. Is your art influenced by the skills you learned?

In electrical work you gotta know everybody else’s trade. You gotta know some plumbing...you definitely gotta know sheetrockin’, masonry the same thing.You gotta be precise and exact,otherwise you’ll mess up somebody else’s job. And I apply that to my work. I like it to be perfect. But plumber’s don’t care, they just run the pipe!

How has art helped you overcome any adversities that you’ve faced?

It has helped me a lot. I get frustrated a lot because I have this anger issue in me for a long time. When I make artwork, even just a little bit, anxiety releases, I relax and focus on what I’m doing and if I don’t get it done, at least i got rid of that tension that was botherin’ me. I forget about a lot of things.

Is there anything in particular that stresses you?

My physical aches and pains. It’s something that I deal with everyday and art helps me a little bit. Pain is basically a mental thing, I’m lookin’ for something to get rid of it and art seems to work.

How do you feel when you’re creating?

I feel like i’m doing something with my life. I’m creating something from scratch basically and it’s gonna be good. And if it ain’t good it goes in the garbage and then we do another one. It can always be replaced.(laughs). Art lets me decide, ‘okay, i’mma let this go’.

What would you do without the ability to create?

Oh man. I hate to say it but I’d probably be a stick-up kid in jail sticking up correction officers! (laughs) Art is the thing that has been in and out of me for most of my life I guess, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.  

Did you find a natural attraction to art, or was it a skill you developed over time?

I think naturally I was inclined always to be into art. I would sit in school and everybody would be writin’ numbers and I’d be tryna doodle somethin’. (laughs)

Where would you like to see your creativity go?

Somewhere I ain’t never been before. I seriously wanna make a perfect box. I’mma get one perfect one day. I just gotta work on it...that’s what art is about. I’ll come back and try it again, and experiment. I like experimenting... I’m good at science too.


JIMMY COOPER

When did you start being creative, wanting to create, explored your creativity?

A long time ago when I moved here. I did it at my program too, and when I was about nineteen.

What does art mean to you and how does it make you feel?

It makes me focus on me, makes me concentrate, and makes me happy. It makes me be calm, make no noise, and that’s it.

How has art helped you overcome any adversities that you’ve face?

I did the wheel, I did my flower, I did the book, I did the bench project… [all] when I got here. I’m doing much better. I’m talkin’ good, i’m readin’ much better now, I’m doin’ everything. I’m gonna be successful. I’m doing much better, I’m workin’ out, doing my program, jogging every morning! I’m starting to keep up every day.

Has art helped you become more involved and active?

With more people. We go to movies, bowling, I wanna do everything on my own. It’s gonna take time, but I know i could do it. All my pottery imma sell it and make money. I like doin’ pottery. It makes me keep coming to the art room.

What would you do without the ability to create?

Oh man, imma be all sad and angry. I gotta focus on myself and do what i gotta do. That’s it.

Any favorites pieces?

My favorite pieces are the cups. I love painting too. I did my picture on my wall, it came out real nice.


REFUGIO RAMOS

When did you start being creative?

When i first started doing creative stuff it was with my mom. We used to make hanging baskets out of rope, and she would buy already made bowls. We would sell them at a flea market, trying to figure out how to bring in more money. Then in seventh grade I took an art class, and that’s when I started thinking, being creative… then later in my architecture drafting class... I loved that class.

Then for years I just stopped doing artwork. For years and years and years. Then in 96’ and 97’ i was really ill. It was one of the most difficult challenges in my life. Either you have the will to survive, or you don’t have the will to survive. It was either swim or drown. When I was going through this, I started doing watercolors. Watercolor came so easily for me, and at that time it helped me be creative, i learned how to apply that creativity to taking care of myself, like what I needed to do to survive. I also learned how to be flexible. In order for you to be creative you have to be flexible and adaptive. If you incorporate those three things you can amount to doing anything. But you have to apply yourself. And it worked throughout my life… mentally, physically, emotionally.

I don’t want it to sound like, people feel sorry for me, have pity for me. I have had a difficult life since i was a child, and as an adult i’ve come to realize how it has affected me. And a part of my life I was being destructive to myself, and that was something I always wanted to change.

Once again, i find myself in your class. Not only has this class given me hope it gave me the ability to say that I value myself. I am a nice guy, and i like to do nice things. But sometimes I forget about me. The creativity i have today I put it in pottery, but also I’m looking for ways to find peace in my life.

The other day i was thinking. I wanted to create my own identity. And who i am… I was brought up in a culture you’re told what to do, and I pretended to be what they wanted me to be, and I never understood what i could be. My childhood was robbed from me. And it’s nobody’s fault, it just happened.

How are you creating your own identity?

I’m 61% Native American. I’m gonna identify myself as Mexican and Native American. And my values are what my mother taught me: how to respect, to be compassionate. Things like that you know.

How has Native American and Mexican designs and motifs influence your artwork?

When we first started I brought you a picture of Aztec design. I still have that stuck in my mind. I want to create vases that are warm, colorful, vibrant... colors that can make people feel and appreciate.

What would you do if you couldn’t make art?

I think I have been blessed… to be creative. If I didn’t think this way, I would’ve been more what they classify as a normal person in society. As far as having a job, always working… If I wasn’t creative, I would be flat!

Where would you like to see your creativity go?

I would like to continue this throughout my life. But i would love to finish getting my Masters. I think a lot about programs, how can we help people out. I already have it in stone in my mind… where I would create a non-profit for people like myself, or veterans who suffer from PTSD. Because of their difficult situations, society has pushed away, and they get left behind. Because it’s a lot of work...don’t get me wrong I’M a lot of work myself, okay!

If we have the opportunity to go and find or seek help, or somebody gives us the help, and we are able to tap into to that, we can dream again.

Since I found out I was positive, I felt like my life.. my dreams... everything was gonna be taken away from me. And today I’m still alive. And I have so much to be thankful for, so much to be grateful for, so much to give back, create opportunities for people.

I have a little nephew who has cerebral palsy. He can’t speak, talk, walk. You know he’s constantly needing care. But I tell you, that kid is something else. because when I’m with him and we connect and he’s laughing, it’s like I’m in heaven. There’s a sense of peace. So whenever we come across other people who are less fortunate, i hope we can take the time out and think. That might have been me. It won’t hurt me…. They want a dollar? What is that gonna cost me? A dollar is nothing these days. So it won’t hurt to be creative in certain ways. Do something for them.

That’s where I’d like my creativity to go.

So you want to channel your creativity into programs that are compassionate

Yes. I wanna help people out. I believe I can make a difference in people’s lives.


ANDREW COX

When did you start being creative?
When I went to summer camp at the age of probably fourteen. I did all sorts of art. I can’t recall exactly, but all sorts. I stopped… but I started again here. I had no favorite I enjoyed all of it. It was a variety, and that’s what’s good.

What does art mean to you?

It’s a reflection on one’s imagination. Their individuality.

How has art helped you overcome any adversities that you’ve faced?

It’s kept me focused.

How do you feel when you’re creating?

Excited.

What would you do without the ability to be creative?

I don’t know what i would do. I’d probably sleep.

You used to be a hairdresser. That’s creative as well... do you see any similarities?

Yeah, you have to be focused. And use your imagination.

Where would you like to see your creativity go in the future?

I come often to the workshops. I like the freestyle art.


EMILY GONZALEZ

Have you always been creative?

For certain things, but not for art. I like the image, I like the color. When you do art it gives you an expression of something that your art is based on.

This is your first time doing visual arts. What does art mean to you now that you’ve done it?

Art means to me to use your imagination. Use your creativity.

How has art helped you overcome any adversities that you’ve faced?

The passing of my mom, death and the past. Art made me feel stress-free. It made me feel open-minded.

What would you do without the ability to be creative?

I’d be lost in certain areas. Because art is like an open space...you can focus on it and you can use all your imagination and put it on art. People base art on experience in life. Life when you’re growing up.

Where would you like to see your creativity go?

My art is to explain my life experience as an individual that is transgender. I want people to be open-minded and go for their goals. There’s nothing to stop their life. If you wanna do art, do art.

Less about art and more about yourself- what are some of your goals and what defines you as a person?

As a transgender woman I’ve been living a lie for 42 years. Both my parents are deceased. Now I can be comfortable in my own skin, I can talk about it. And my life experience is to help others that cannot fight for themselves and their rights in the LGBTQIA community. I am a peer education specialist, and with an agency that helps the transgender population and LGBTQIA population. I deal with Hep C and HIV clients.

SANDRA GENERETTE

When did you start exploring your creativity?

Since I was a kid. When I was young. In school I liked math and art, and I was always gifted doin’ stuff like that. Doin’ stuff with my hands. I stopped for a lil’ bit. Then I started again here at Gibb.

What does art mean to you?

Beauty. And passion. It gives me joy in my life. Y’know, I can look at things in a different way. The colors in different ways. I’m always like that, I like to try something different, I don’t listen to other people. I do it the way I wanna do it.

How has art helped you overcome any adversities?

Depression. It keeps me from being depressed and all sad and stuff like that, it makes me feel young and spiffy! It changed my life. I don’t like negative. Painting colors and makin’ bowls and stuff- that’s my joy. I like to do things my way.

How do you feel when creating art?

It makes me happy. Everything that bothers me, I let that go. That’s when I first met the other teacher, the one before you, I watched things and studied things. I look at things and think about what I’m gonna do.

Tell us about the other art you do in the Art Room.

With Jenely we make soap. That makes me feel good to make something that makes someone else feel good and smell good. And that’s the way I see things.

How would you feel without the ability to be creative?

I’d be depressed. Since I started doin’ this, I try not to think negative. Cuz I’m always tryna think ahead of time; not behind me, in front of me. The older I get, the more I see things in a different way. A more positive way. When people are negative, I back off. My best friend said something to me one day that I didn’t like, and I said,  “you talkin’ negative to me and it makes me feel bad. and I don’t like no negative!” I walk away, I hang up on her. But we make up later.

Where can you see your creativity going?

I like to be creative. When I do things in my way, that makes me happy and makes me think more and more positive. I try to make an idea come in my head and say “I’mma go do this.” Whatever comes to my mind.


SHAUNTA DIXON

When did you start being creative?

When I was about 13 years old. I was coloring and drawin’ stick people. I started being creative off and on… and writing as well. I like writing short stories, poems, true stories, it all depends what mood I’m in that creativity would come out.

Do you write regularly?

No...I’m gettin’ back into it. I write it on the day I had, the mood I was in, and the feelings I felt. In a journal.

Do you attend a lot of the workshops here at Gibb?

I try to. Right now I’m just looking for a stipend job in the medical field. I graduate at the end of this month for peer training/peer education. The field I’m looking for is the medical field that tests people for Hep C and HIV.

How does that relate to your life, and why did you decide to go into the medical field?

I like helping people. I like learnin’ about things. And my older sister, she was becoming a nurse but she passed away before that could happen. So she kinda gave me the boost to want to work in the medical field. Art is the escape for me. It helped me from being depressed. And I watch a lot of art shows on T.V, and I get ideas and I wonder if I can do that…It helped me see myself as a better person. Half of the stuff I learned I didn’t think I could do. It helps me with my nieces when they wanna do their art and stuff.

Was there anything particular in your life or your past that art has changed for you?

I think the most difficult time was when my mother passed away when I was about eight years old. At the time I didn’t understand, cuz I was goin’ through so many emotions… and I saw this guy’s tattoo. It was of his mother with these big angel wings. That made me get into artwork more, with the colors, and stuff like that. Everywhere you look you see art. Whether it’s painting, ceramics, puttin’ up a building, designing a house! Y’know, graffiti is art, garbage is art! Everything is art, it’s just your interpretation of it.

How do you feel when you’re creating work?

I feel good. I feel happy, I really do. I like being creative. I would love to make my own book one day. Bookmaking, origami, paper mache... all that stuff.

What would you do without the ability to create?

I would be devastated! I wouldn’t have nothing to do. Oh man, I don’t know I would drive myself crazy. I mean I have music, but if I didn’t have that I wouldn’t know what to do.

Where do you see your art going?

Maybe some art shows. I mean we have art class at Housing Works but we don’t be intense as we do here. Their art is basically like jewelry making and painting, they don’t have ceramics there, ‘cuz of the budget. Everything is about money. But I work with what I have.

If you created your own program, would you continue this kind of art?

I would.

If money wasn’t an issue, what kind of art programs would you invest in and want to be involved in?

The type of art program I’d want to be involved with is one for people with disabilities.  All disabilities- adults and children. For women that have been abused I would show them to focus their anger positively through their art. I would open a place where they could vent, if they feel like they’re not creative, like a big venting room. I would do a lot of things around society where we need resources.

Does that reflect your story and what you’ve been through?

Most of it yeah. A lot of abuse growin’ up. I mean my childhood wasn’t perfect, our grandfather made sure we had a good childhood... it’s just that when you’re young you think you’re grown and know everything. And that’s what happened with me, I thought I knew everything but I didn’t.


DONALD COBLE

When did you start being creative?

Around 2007. I was forty-seven. When I first came here there was nothing here. Like flowers or anything. And I worked with the previous director, and I told her if you give me some dirt, I’ll beautify the property. I said I could do it all by myself. After I got the soil in and we let it set a whole year, the next year we started bringing the trees and all the different plants in, exotic plants and everything. And we watched them grow.

Is gardening your passion?

Yes. That’s all my creativity.

What does art mean to you?

It gives me peace of mind, and keeps me from going back to drinkin’. When I stopped drinking I fell in love with art. So I don’t have no time to look back on drinkin’...cuz I don’t have interest in it no more. This is my baby now. It’s planting. It’s a form of therapy for me. If I were to move from here and there was no gardenin’ I don’t know where my life would go. Ever since comin’ up with my grandfather workin’ on the farm and stuff, and after I moved to D.C I left it. Then I turned to drinkin’. I said ‘there’s gotta be somethin’ better than this.’ And then my sister said why don’t you find a place where you could do gardening again? So when I came here there it was, I saw all the opportunities and I went for it. Those two cherry blossom trees we planted those in ‘07, and look at them now.

I see in your artwork you’re a perfectionist.

If I’m gonna do it, I want it to be the best. I don’t want to just be in the art room puttin’ junk together, or rushin’ through something. Cuz it’s not good. I never rush through anything that I do. If it’s takes me two-three days to complete the job, that’s what it’s gonna take.

Even when I was in college… the dean said you need to buckle it up, speed up a lil’ bit. I said ‘Wait a minute, I’m not givin’ you no mess. Cuz I want my grades to be perfect. I don’t want you givin’ me nothin.’ I was a straight A student. If I earned it then I earned it. I don’t want others to think or say that I was given anything. Same thing with  Sharon...love her to death.

How do you feel when making ceramics?

I like to know the whole broad side of it. When you give me clay, I have to think of what I’m gonna create and design. I don’t wanna look over at the opposite end of the table and see another person doin’ their thing, and try to do what they’re doin’. I wanna create something that nobody thought of. And that’s the type of art I like to do. I’d probably say I’m a creative designer.

Where do you see your creativity going in the future?

When my time is up and I leave the Earth, I want all my creations to go to cancer centers for children. That’s my heart, my passion. It bothers me when I see a lil’ child suffering from cancer. And that's why I go there all the time just to be with the kids. They are so lovely, and they reach out to strangers all the time. Because that’s what keeps those kids alive. They know family is mom and dad, or brother and sister. But they don’t know me and you… and that’s what keeps the children alive. They keep em pushin’, don’t quit. Never give up. You’d be amazed at what you’d see at cancer centers. I met this girl with no arms, and she was the sweetest thing, she was about seven years old. This year will be my third Christmas goin’ over, and spending the day with them. They do art, they show me the stuff they done, their lil drawings and things. That little girl, she draws with her feet. I said ‘Wait a minute! And you mean to tell me you got people running around talkin’ about how they havin’ a bad day?’ Are you kidding me! Everytime you think about complainin’, think about them kids. Think about what they can’t do, that they’re doing.

When you got to NYC from D.C you were homeless, right?

Yeah. I didn’t know no one here, sure didn’t. And I met this one stranger and he turned out to be one of my best friends. He left and got himself together, got a job in Cleveland and I’m definitely going to visit.

What was the biggest lesson coming here during that time?

The biggest thing was I try not the look back. At that time I had to worry about how am I going to move forward without looking  back. And it was tough, because when you put one foot forward and you have two directions, the left or the right. I sometimes took the right… because money issues. I knew I did some illegal things, and that brought me back to a place I didn’t want to go. I said ‘forget this mess.’ If I needed some money, I would pick up cans or do whatever I had to do to earn it. When I went to the left, I never looked back.

When you lookin’ forward, you have to realize you have to reach back because you’re leaving somebody behind. I don’t care who they are. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re living comfortable, reach back and grab somebody else. Even if it’s a stranger. Because I see my life has advanced more by just reaching back and giving to the less fortunate. And that’s what I try to tell people that’s in the situation that I was in... is to let them know, stop thinkin’ about yourself all the time and think about those less fortunate. Even though you’re still going through the struggles it don’t make you less of a person, but just reach back. And when you do that you feel good about yourself, and you ain’t got time to think about the negative. Because in your mind you helped somebody.

My grandmother lived to see 105 years old, and she was my best friend. She always told me, “baby, whatever you do in life, don’t you ever make fun or laugh at anyone less fortunate that you are. The man that’s pushin’ the mop, he’s in that place right now. And if you make fun of somebody like that, down the road they could be the CEO of a corporation. And I’ve seen people like that, came from the gutter, and now in the top five companies in the country.  And they reach out and grab somebody else.


SHARON HABERER, Director of Social Services

Why has art been important to you?

One of the best quotes that I have that remains in my room since I been here in my office is a quote from Nick Babkin, who is an artist, and he said, “The advantage of the arts is that they link cognitive growth to social and emotional development.” So in being able to help those that we serve really connect with themselves and with each other it decreases isolation, increases socialization skills. And help them to develop a sense of positive self-esteem. Creating  a piece is important to all of us. Especially to those we serve here who have trauma in their life and not many successes.

Can you describe your involvement with the art room at Gibb?

When I first came here it was a blank room. And I had started working with Pratt Institute and their art classes, and we slowly transformed it into the room we have now. We have every type of media, including a kiln for pottery. I find working with clay very therapeutic, and you quickly see the results of your work, and the more you work the better you get. It’s so evident (the success) in creating a piece that you put your whole self into making.

Any memorable moments?

There’s many memorable moments. Seeing portraits when we had Black History Month... we did a whole series of ‘what does Black History Month mean to you?’, and people did some wonderful portraits and expression with the acrylics. Going back to pottery: from their first work to the work they are doing now, people really, through practice, have become quite good at what they’re doing. It’s very positive.

What does Gibb Mansion mean to you?

Well Gibb Mansion is part of IMPACCT Brooklyn, and IMPACCT Brooklyn works in affordable housing and housing development, economic development, and home services. They’ve done that for years, and have this supportive housing component to IMPACCT Brooklyn which works with the most vulnerable within the community. And being able to be a part of that, seeing people from when they first come in, not able to engage with others and not trusting,  to the place they are now: connected back with their family. They are now connecting with their neighbors and excited to be part of a community again. They are excited about getting healthy; not just their physical health but their mental health and overall well-being. They recognize that they’re in a positive place of growth, and being able to be part of that is very rewarding.

Is Gibb Mansion similar to other buildings that IMPACCT Brooklyn does or is this unique?

Well IMPACCT Brooklyn has another supportive housing but the social services is outsourced. But we are in the process now of developing two additional supportive housing units right here in Bedford-Stuyvesant for seniors, for the chronically homeless elderly population. Here at Gibb it is for the chronically homeless with several comorbidities.

How do you stay motivated as the director?

It’s a lifetime of work. And the staff at Gibb Mansion are remarkable: they are passionate, committed, they are about providing the best practice to those we serve. We are always looking for ways to improve the work that we do, we are always doing quality improvement. Working with the staff is a privilege. We meet as a team once a week, and it’s all about the work we do and how we can do it better. Plus staying abreast with what’s going on with the chronically homeless situation in our city. We only have fifty units here at Gibb, and seeing them grow and succeed because of the direct correlation to the work we are doing here is very motivating. We can see tht supportive housing and social services works for the most vulnerable in our communities... it really helps them to reach their full capacity to independent living.  

What inspired you to pursue this career?

I’ve been doing this work for about forty years. It started when I was first married, young, in my church. And there was a runaway child, and my husband and I took her in and connected her back to her parents. Helping them to reconnect, and seeing that I could be very much a part of change in someone’s life in a positive way was very motivating.


JENELY RIVAS, Activities and Events Coordinator

Why has art been important to you?

Well since the beginning, my passion has always been drawing. It has always been something that quite intrigued me… it’s a stress reliever. It’s therapeutic. It’s something when I’m having a hard time I can always sit down and draw or paint.

Can you describe your involvement with the art room at Gibb?

I am the activities and events coordinator, and in the art room we create a lot of activities such as painting, drawing, soap-making, lotions and cosmetics, and we also do mosaic projects. We have sewn and made pillows, and other fun workshops. These workshops are usually 30 minutes to two or three hours.

We have workshop about 3-4 times a week.

Do you come up with these ideas for workshops?

For the most part I come up with anything creative that the clients might like. I never try to do anything ‘babyish’. Art in general is not babyish. I really do believe that adults need to find their inner child and not act like these things are exclusive or limited to children. There is so many artistic things you can do as an adult. I always try to come up with something that they might use, the lotion- they love that. The sewing- they love that. It brings more people.

Any memorable moments?

I’ve shared a lot of laughter. The good thing about the art room is that people come in and work on their art, we all gather together and talk about intimate things, or express ourselves and maybe cry. Some have cried telling their stories, sharing deep stories about their childhood and things they’ve went through. It’s part of the therapy.

Anything that has struck you?

What strikes me the most is definitely the clients. I think the clients have some talents that, y’know, they seem to discover themselves when they come over here. I think that’s amazing! They come in and they’re like, ‘oh jenely, I don’t know how to draw, I don’t know how to paint” Next thing you know they come up with this masterpiece! And that’s when they discover their inner talent and it actually encourages them to come to the art room more.

What does gibb mean to you?

Gibb mansion has definitely been a learning experience for me. I have come to learn tenants individually and have learned their struggles. Have learned their talent. I have learned also from my coworkers as well, that everyone has a story to tell and I feel like everyone is unique in their own way and it shows in their personality. And I also believe that you can definitely bring out the beauty in everyone’s personality... I learn more on how to treat people in general.

How do you stay motivated?

You know, I’m not a good singer but I sing. I sing gospel. I’m not a good singer but I do sound great in the shower! And I can totally say that singing also helped me besides the fine arts activities. It helps me stay motivated.