In anticipation of Art for Jobs 2017, we are excited to announce that Meredith Olinger will once again be contributing her artwork to the show!
Last year, Meredith Olinger was one of the featured artists at our annual fundraiser, Art for Jobs. Advance had recently acquired a 24,000 sq. foot warehouse and now had the opportunity to try some new things. Meredith was simultaneously trying out some new methods in her studio. She began painting the walls of her studio and after a few conversations with Kate Lareau, head of Art for Jobs at the time, they decided to present the idea of artist walls to a few other artists that would be contributing artwork to the show. They ended up with 8′ x 8′ walls that were made in the warehouse by Mike Shaw, Advance’s Program Manager, and Walter Brown, Work Life and GED graduate, as a new way of displaying the artists’ work. The artists had total freedom with the walls and could choose to paint the whole wall, part of the wall, or use it to hang their artwork.
Meredith decided to paint the whole wall, a method she had begun experimenting with in her studio. The result was a spectacular piece of artwork on display at Art for Jobs, as well as a transformation of Meredith’s work as she began to shift from canvas to wall. The following is her story. We cannot wait to she what she has to share with us this year!
“I work primarily on the wall. This hasn’t always been the case. For a long time, I worked on a traditional canvas, or in sculpture. However, I was always experimenting with new formats and ways of displaying my work; nothing ever felt right.
In the spring of 2016, in a complete act of boredom, I doodled on the wall of my studio. The doodle soon took over the entire studio. I liked what I saw, so I posted it on Instagram, not thinking much of it. I was soon contacted by Kate Lareau, who was planning and executing Advance Memphis’s upcoming show, Art for Jobs. She had had an idea for the show: what if artists were given entire walls on which to display their work or, even better, on which to create new work? We started hashing out this idea, and this plan became a reality. Artists were given a wall in which to create whatever they want. Some simply displayed a gallery wall of their work, some made large scale paintings, others created a backdrop for their small-scale work. Every artist approached it differently.
My wall was 8’ x 8’. I didn’t realize that that wall would change the trajectory of my work completely. I think I finished that 8’ x 8’ wall in a week. Which is crazy, considering the size, but working that large felt so natural for me.
Meredith’s Artist Wall at Art for Jobs 2016
After I completed this wall, I quickly started taking over the walls of my studio. I stopped making small scale work. The studio became the work. I drew on the wall, painted on the wall, and applied my own wallpaper to the wall. It was new and exciting; I was no longer making a window for the viewer to look into, I was creating a space for the viewer to walk into. I had stepped from the safe world of painting into the wonky world of installation.
Meredith’s work on the walls of her studio
For my graduate thesis exhibition, I knew I had to go big or go home. I also knew that I would have a whole new set of challenges: how was I to take my work out of the studio and into the gallery? I decided I needed to build a space, despite my mediocre carpentry skills. I had three months to make 3 pieces that were 12’ long, and I had to build the walls on which they would be displayed. The Advance Memphis graduates did such a great job on the Art for Jobs’ walls; I thought maybe they could help me out again. I commissioned 9, 4’ x 8’ walls. This way, they could be moved in and out of the gallery relatively easily, but then could be pieced together to create the appearance of a seamless wall. Again, Advance Memphis was crucial for my artistic development.
Meredith’s Graduate Thesis
So of course, we were thrilled to be approached by professor and artist Christopher Nadaskay about a project he had in mind, and his desire to use his gifts to benefit our work at Advance Memphis.
Last year, Prof. Nadaskay was an artist featured in our annual Art For Jobs fundraiser. He approached us shortly after about a solo installation and sale that he wanted to put together in support of us. In the span of just a few short months, he has created 1,000 individual pieces of art in the form of hand-made crosses.
In his artist’s statement, Nadaskay explains:
“The overarching principle behind the exhibit is the idea that an individual artist can and should produce work for the benefit of others. It is my intention that this exhibit is used for the betterment of anyone who sees it – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The crosses are to be sold with the proceeds going directly to Advance Memphis. It places art into the hands of a public who may never appreciate it as such and beauty into those same hands. It allows for the exploration of a huge number of creative visual problems and then helps to provide substance for those in need.
The idea for this exhibit/sale came from my desire to promulgate the concept of the social responsibility of the artist to the people that surround them in their particular segment of culture. The art world has become a place where political activism, influential social connections, and monetary gain direct the career paths of artists, to the detriment of the more positive influences that art can have on a culture. With this show, it is my intention to make art that is accessible to the average person, has a positive, hopeful message and from which the proceeds will directly be used to constructively impact society. Each cross, in a sense, represents a pardon. This brought to mind a relatively common phrase in our culture ‘A thousand pardons,’ meaning ‘I beg your pardon;’ it is a quote that comes from a 1931 movie starring Charlie Chan (Black Camel). It really has nothing to do with the movie, but as it was a little catchy and seemed appropriate to the message, the title was born.
The crosses are made in the same manner that I pursue my normal studio work, color and texture playing a huge role in their perception. It is only natural that influences from that artwork show up in a variety of ways in them.”
The artist would like to thank: Union University for its very generous support of the project through a teaching sabbatical grant, studio space, materials and kiln/firing time; Kathryn Pelley and Ragan Williamson, his studio assistants for the project – without whom much of this would not have been possible; and additional thanks should go to Crosstown Arts, Advance Memphis for their wonderful support and assistance in making the project a reality
We hope you will join us for the reception and sale of this monumental work on Thursday, March 30th, at Crosstown Arts. The event will be held from 4pm-9pm, pieces will be available for purchase for $15, and Chris Nadaskay will give a brief artist’s lecture. RSVP on Facebook!
For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Bethany Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Artist:
Christopher Nadaskay is an artist and Professor of Art at Union University where he has served for 24 years. He is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University and Texas A&M Commerce where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. in Painting/ Mixed Media respectively. His mediums have included watercolor, oils, acrylics, mixed media and various sculpture mediums. Working at the moment in mixed media/ceramic wall relief, he is interested in the relationship between technology and the human condition. He has works in several collections, including the Tennessee State Museum.
Over the past 12 years, Advance Memphis has utilized soft-skills job training to help people get to work. From 2005 to 2015, we used a curriculum from an organization called Jobs for Life. Two years ago, Advance Memphis and the Chalmers Center for Economic Development worked with Jobs for Life to co-publish a new jobs-training curriculum called Work Life, specifically designed for communities suffering from the effects of multi-generational poverty. Since the completion of the curriculum, Advance Memphis and the Chalmers Center have partnered to train churches and ministries in Work Life, and Advance now runs an annual training for new Work Life Facilitators. Advance Memphis is deeply grateful for this partnership with Jobs for Life and the Chalmers Center that has spanned many years. We are also grateful for the many churches and organizations that are engaged in this work around our nation.
Work Life is a biblically integrated job and life-skills curriculum designed specifically for low-income adults. Through Work Life, churches and non-profits can assist the materially poor in developing crucial skills for flourishing in their careers and communities. While Work Life covers typical jobs-readiness topics like interviewing skills and understanding what employers want, the curriculum goes deeper and engages participants in God’s grand story for their lives. Participants, Allies, and Instructors walk together in relationships, uncovering how to live all of life, including work, in light of that story. Naming gifts, developing communication skills, healing from the past, and overcoming difficult roadblocks are all topics addressed in interactive, participatory ways throughout the curriculum. The $350 training package equips you to walk with your low-income neighbors over time, leading to lasting transformation. Register here.
Becoming a Work Life facilitator prepares you to:
Start Work Life classes in your community by:
The Work Life Facilitator Training costs $350 at the early bird rate and $400 after May 21st. The training will take place in two stages. The online portion will begin June 5; live training will take place July 14th and 15th at Advance Memphis. Register here.
Interested in auditing? If you’re considering whether Work Life is right for your group or you have team members who would benefit from some training (though they won’t be facilitating), consider auditing. Participants may audit the online portion of training for $25. This does not include the live training and will not result in certification. Email Bryce Stout at email@example.com with questions about auditing.
The sixth annual Art for Jobs event will be held in the (new!) Advance Memphis Warehouse on September 15th, from 5-8pm. Moving the event from the classrooms and offices of Advance Memphis to a 24,000 square foot warehouse opens up all kinds of possibilities for the event and organizers are working on several new additions to the party.
First up? Artist’s Walls. These 8′ x 8′ false walls are being created by Advance Memphis Work Life participants who have chosen the “Building Connections” elective. Students of the class practice planning projects, following directions, measuring, using power tools, and working as a team to complete projects.
After the walls are built, selected artists are given the opportunity to design their “gallery” space in any way they choose. For some of our artists, this will mean murals the size of the wall itself, for others, it will be a classic gallery experience with white walls and canvases hung on the wall.
We’re excited to share more about the artists who will be applying their creativity to this project, each of whom have unique connections to the community and to the work at Advance. Keep up with Advance here and on social media as we share about all of our talented and generous artists (Facebook and Twitter links at the top of the page, follow us on Instagram at @advancememphis).
Jamin Carter, seen working on his wall at right, will also be contributing a Wall – learn more about his work, here. Learn more about other artists creating Artist’s Walls: Meredith Olinger, Lacey Craig, Darlene Newman, Rachel Rieves, J.E.Gillentine, David Bunk, and Jack Chambers.
Make plans to be at Art for Jobs on September 15th to see Artists’s Walls as well as hundreds of pieces by local artists and prints from nationally known artists. Learn more about the event here.
ALL OF CARTER’S WORK FOR ART FOR JOBS 2016 CAN BE SEEN IN THE ONLINE CATALOG.
Art for Jobs 2016 will be held in a new location: The Advance Memphis Warehouse. With more space, comes more opportunity for creativity, and this year we’re introducing Artist’s Walls.
We’re working with a few local artists who will adopt an 8′ x 8′ wall and make it their own. You can learn more about Artist’s Walls, here. We are honored to have Jamin Carter joining us for this opportunity; he’s pictured at left beginning work on his piece.
Jamin Carter is a visual artist, educator, and activist. He holds a BFA in sculpture and painting and a Masters of Arts in Teaching in visual art education. He lives in Memphis, TN with his wife and two children.
He has worked on a variety of projects both public and private such as serving as a volunteer consultant for public works, facilitating panel discussions and painting mural signs. Working out of his studio in Memphis he participants in exhibitions, and occasionally curates shows. Jamin is also a consultant with Focus 5 Inc., a group providing professional learning opportunities and program consulting focused on aligning arts integration, best instructional practices, and current thinking in the field of arts and education
Art for Jobs exists, first, to support Memphians in 38126 who are pursuing their educational and professional goals despite the significant roadblocks presented by material poverty. The second mission of Art for Jobs is to honor the artists who make the event possible! The event will be a celebration of art, beauty, courage, and dignity. We invite you to join us on Thursday, September 15, but we also encourage you to get involved now! Visit advancememphis.org/afj2016 for all the latest event news; get started below!
Join us in supporting your fellow Memphians and some outstanding artists –
get involved today!
There are many ways to contribute, and every option helps to support the incredible 38126 committee as our neighbors pursue education, employment, and financial security.
Our committee helps Advance staff do the following:
To find out more about the committee, email Kate. The amount of time you contribute is up to you, but we can work around the schedules of our committee members. We’ll meet as needed, probably just about 5 times between now and the event, using email for check-ins and decisions as necessary. Get involved—we would love to have you!
Advance Memphis and the Memphis Center for Food and Faith work together to maintain and develop a formerly blighted corner of property at an intersection dubbed one of the most dangerous in America (#23 in a report on NeighborhoodScout.com). To date, the space has been cleaned and is being cultivated, with an eye toward permaculture design and creating an “edible landscape.” Work is done by neighbors, volunteers, and student participants in the workforce development programs. The space eliminates blight, builds community, produces food, and serves as a learning lab for Advance Memphis.
We’ll purchase 3 attractive and long-lasting metal trashcans for use in the neighborhood garden. Sitting on 3 corners of the property, the trashcans will define the space, provide a means to keep it clean, and help visitors see the connection (through branding) to the nearby Advance facility.
Buying trashcans isn’t glamorous – but the alternative is a mess! Help us out by going to ioby.com and donating: give – have your gift doubled – and help to support the learning, growing, and healthy options that come from this space.
Interested in learning how to facilitate job readiness using the curriculum we use at Advance Memphis? Read more below and follow the links for details, Frequently Asked Questions, and more.
SAVE THE DATE
Online Portion: April 25-May 25 | Live Event: June 3-4
Get certified to lead Work Life job readiness training in your church or ministry. Whether you work in ministry full-time or regularly volunteer and want to be better equipped to empower your brothers and sisters in low-income communities, becoming a Work Life facilitator can help! Click here for more info and to register.
Each year, generous donors give lots of love to Advance Memphis through the Valentine Supply Drive. By donating classroom and office supplies that facilitate learning, you help ease the financial burden of purchasing these necessities and have a direct effect on student success.
Right now, we’re recruiting TEAM LEADS to help coordinate the Supply Drive efforts. This is a really easy way to make a big difference at Advance. Team Leads simply post a sign and an empty box in a gathering place (foyer of a church, classroom in a church or school, office break room) and then use email or announcements to encourage their teams to get involved. That’s it! If you can’t serve as a Team Lead, but would like to drop off supplies, see the list below. We’re also accepting donations to cover GED testing fees, just give online and add “GED” to the “in honor of” area.
Below you’ll see a list of the supplies we’re collecting along with contact information for questions. Please get in touch with us now if you’re interested in serving as a Team Lead and we’ll get you started! Or, get started by simply printing the Adv Memphis Supply Drive Flyer 2016, posting it with an empty box in your school, church, or office, and encouraging your team to get started!
♥ COPY PAPER (NO HOLES) ♥ THIN TIP MARKER SETS ♥ DRY ERASE MARKERS ♥ STICKY NOTES ♥ KLEENEX ♥ PACKS OF BALL POINT PENS ♥ TWO POCKET FOLDERS ♥ DONATIONS FOR GED/HSE TESTING FEES