Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Anthony’s Park Mobile Arts and Recycle Center


My name is Amanda Almarshoud and I’m a Sophomore General Fine Arts Major with a prospective Minor in Art History and a Concentration in Sustainability and Social Practice. My 2013 summer internship was unexpectedly spent at the Anthony’s Park Mobile Arts and Recycle Center. While staying in Baltimore for a majority of the summer, I naturally took my extra time in the city to explore interesting areas. I stumbled upon Anthony’s Park Mobile Arts and Recycle Center in Highlandtown, right next to one of my favorite Indian/ Nepalese grocery stores. I walked into the center, talked to two women chatting about the neighborhood over drinks, and ended up spending the next half hour sitting and talking with them. One of the women, Nancy, was the owner of the center and said she was going to be selling merchandise ad running a workshop at a huge block sale called Blockenstein the next morning. I asked if she needed help selling items and whatnot, and she was delighted to have me help her. After that, I continued to come into the center to see what new events were happening, and what I could help with. I found Anthony Park to be in an extremely diverse community that worked with a variety of artistic ventures. I became her intern shortly after volunteering for her for some time.
When I first walked into the center, Nancy explained her new vision for the space. I was very excited to help her accomplish her goals. Nancy and I hosted workshops for the children in the neighborhood most of the time. When workshops weren’t being held, we would sell merchandise and organize supplies to make room for all the events she wanted to be held at the center. A large component of working at Anthony’s Park was immersing myself in the community and really getting to know the people that lived and worked in the area. I found being a part of this community was the most rewarding experience of my internship. Anthony’s Park serves as an encouraging, safe, and artistic environment for children, and adults as well. Having had the chance to contribute to the positivity in the community through art workshops and good conversation, I feel quite grateful.
Towards the end of my internship, Nancy and I conducted many off-site workshops for children in many different locations. I’ve never worked with children, so being able to facilitate their art-making process, happened to be an artistic experience for me too. Children are so open to new ideas. I realized this through watching them respond to my suggestions, reactions, and silliness. Also, I learned the steps taken to formulate, prep, setup, and conduct a workshop in classroom and festival settings. Learning how to create a fun experience for children in a variety of locations helped me understand what can be done in certain spaces and what can’t. This internship put me in a position to think about how others would experience making art. Now, I plan to use more emphatic elements in my artwork. I will also use my knowledge of offsite workshops in my public installation work. Though I don’t want to conduct children’s workshops in the future, I’d love to make installation that call for public interactions in interesting and alarming locations.

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