This was my second time visiting the resource center, a small building tucked away on a side street in a section of the city just north of campus. As I reached for the door, a boy about three or four years old brushed passed my legs as his mom yelled after him. "I don't want to be here all day", she mumbled.
I skipped around the boy and didn't even have to approach the front desk before a volunteer asked me who I was looking for. Was I that out of place?
"Sue? I'm here for Sue? I'm doing the mural?"
When I'm nervous everything comes out as a question.
"Oh good you're here! I have a space cleared out for you over on this wall if you would like to get started," she said in one breath as she glided past me in her floor-length skirt.
What the hell am I doing here?
The people coming in this building have experienced things I cannot even fathom. There were children in this community half my age that have seen more of the real world than I have, and here I am living comfortably in my cushy collegiate life less than a mile away. Am I just throwing my privileged arts education in their faces by being here, drawing all over their walls? What good is this actually doing?
Part one of this project - the fundamental sketch on the wall - became a moment of clarity to me. Even though at first it felt like my drawings were not going to make a real, tangible impact on these people, they had certainly already made an impact on me. Just being there for a few hours and taking in everything around me served as a vibrant reminder that I am extremely fortunate. If final exams and formal dates are the biggest stressers in my life right now, then I am truly blessed, because just down the street there is a mother who worries about feeding her children.
I left the center that afternoon unsure of why I was asked there to begin with. I left with a hollow heart knowing that there is so much sadness in the community that my pencils and paints couldn't even begin to repair.
Please stay tuned, as there are more pictures to come on the final product!