This page is a constant work in progress, where we try to highlight links to interesting events and projects involving the arts, social action, or instances in which great local groups or businesses link up together to create community.
Follow Your Art Launches New Community Wide Project
“The Melrose Human Rights Commission and Follow Your Art are teaming up to create a unique community art project — a creative map of Melrose that will illustrate the diversity of individuals that make up the city.
“We have always enjoyed art projects that deal with social awareness, such as the work we’ve done with the Melrose Alliance Against Violence and the city’s recycling coordinator,” said Kris Rodolico, owner of the Follow Your Art studio. “That’s exactly what we are doing here.”
The project began when Rodolico was at a Human Rights Commission event this past fall with commissioners Ed Schmitt and Shawn MacMaster. They all began talking about the subject of diversity in Melrose and how a project could be centered on that topic.”
Follow Your Art joined Melrose Birth to Five and the City to officially open the new playground, with a mural activity that was available to everyone. The mural is now hanging permanently on the common — with lots of little handprints that will be there for years to come.
What’s NEW with YOU? Art and Change: Our new community project is open to all community members and is easy to do. We are asking people to create a 4 inch square piece of artwork that focuses on what’s new/change/transition. Draw a picture, cut and glue, paint, or write to illustrate a change for you or your community.
Many local artists and community members have already participated. We have also received an MMFA grant to help defray our framing and supply costs. Our finished community installation will be displayed at Coffee Tea and Me in January and February, and we are working on securing other venues around town. For more information, to make a piece at the studio or borrow supplies, contact us!
The Roosevelt School has focused its efforts on giving back to the community this year. One such project was led by Kaesmene Harrison Banks and involved all kindergarten classes and staff. Students drew a square on donated fabric and Kaesmene combined all 64 squares in this beautifully designed rainbow quilt to be donated to Melrose Wakefield Hospital. Kaesmene’s stunning quilt project was presented to Melrose Wakefield Hospital staff by the entire 2014 kindergarten class. The hospital has designed a wood and glass case to display it in. It was Kaesmene’s intent to bring joy to children and families at a difficult time. Cheers to Kaesmene and the Roosevelt Kindergarten Community for the amazing effort! Pictures of all quilt squares are here.
SEEM Collaborative and FYA completed a 10 week session thanks to a STARS Residency grant through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Students from SEEM Prep created a collaborative piece that was on display at the Melrose Arts Fest April 25-27th.
PAINT NIGHT FUNDRAISERS! FYA is donating studio space and time for local groups to raise money for worthy causes. Contact us to learn more.
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, FYA participated in the HumanRights Commission’s Day of Service on Saturday January 18th. Some lovely volunteers spent a rainy morning painting “pet rock valentines” for residents of a local nursing home. It was heartening to see how many Melrosians gave their time on a Saturday morning. What will our next project be?
The Melrose Alliance Against Violence and Follow Your Art worked second community art project which was displayed at last year’s Candlelight Walk and Vigil. The theme was Stories that Move Us. We created a path of individual footprints. The footprints were displayed at the event, creating a path from where we enter to where we leave for the Walk. The path showed how we move from isolation to support, from being alone to being in community through sharing our word and stories.
CommuniTree Art: from Trash to Tree: Follow Your Art teamed up with the City of Melrose last spring to provide a unique opportunity for the community of Melrose, not only to participate in caring for our parks but also to take part in a real time creation of community art at the Melrose Arts Festival.
Over 250 people came out on the morning of April 6th to clean up local parks. We then invited the community to transform the collected and recycled items we found into art objects to adorn a grove of tree sculptures at the Melrose Arts Festival. This art installation was a celebration of our efforts to care for our community and inspire others to do the same. This project continues! The CommuniTrees will be hosted by schools and other community locations this fall. Jessica Schmitt, Melrose Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator, made this video to document the event. Special thanks to the city of Melrose, Melrose Cultural Council and Messina Fine Arts for helping make this project possible.