Happy Art-Iversary!

February 5, 2018

As I come up on Valentine's Day (the anniversary of the publishing of my book), I can't help but get a little emotional! (Not for that reason)

 

This year I went to my BIGGEST venue yet, but this time last year I had no idea what this little 30 page book I'd dreamed up would do. All I knew was that it was attached to a lot of love and a passion for change. I wanted to make the world a more loving, empathetic, and colorful place, and that was seriously all that I knew.  Fast forward to another year, and I'm getting to present my work thanks to some incredible friends who believe in me at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations!

My presentation in honor of Martin Luther King at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia was incredible! I had a moment where I was setting up with my friend that I realized how momentous the occasion was. I was reading MY BOOK...at a prestigious MUSEUM! I read my book to the entire first floor of the museum, and it was great to get the kids engaged with shouts, claps and drum-rolls. People stopped by afterwards to get signed copies and just to meet me/say hello.

 

The workshop was my favorite piece of the day though. It's designed to foster empathy while also teaching critical character design and creative writing skills. Students and their parents piled in to learn from me, and the students (and parents!) were so excited, engaged and thoughtful. I got really high praise from both the parents and kids alike about how fun it was and how well I worked with the kids! The best part, however, was watching the kids' interactions. By the end of the class, students who previously hadn't known each other had become friends. It had become a community. One pair of girls in particular hadn't known each other AT ALL, but by the end parents and the folks who invited me noted how they had become like sisters. It was a real testament to the power of empathy and the beauty of difference, which is what the workshop was designed to foster. Just an amazing day.

 

Special shoutout to Adrian Colon who volunteered his time and energy to being the best assistant ever. Couldn't have done it without you! Of course, HUGE thank you to Jennifer Cohan, Meg Rider & Natalie Hope McDonald for your support, love and introductions! Definitely check this museum out if you haven't. Ton of fun for everyone who can go!

 

I'm SO very lucky and blessed to know people who believe in my vision and artistic skill (thank GOD!). My now awesome friend/mother Jennifer Cohan connected me with Monique Jones of Princeton Middle School. One thing led to another, and now I'm going to be leading a 10 week workshop for select students! As part of this, I came in and gave a small presentation about my journey!

 

I was nervous at first, but the students and faculty made it easy to talk about: the importance of empathy, how art informs and builds bridges, and the importance of loving ones neighbor knowing that love requires risk and a willingness to learn. I relayed my own story of how I brought my sketchbook to karate class to show my improving skills. Mostly everyone oooed and aaahed but one boy proudly stated "Oh wow I didn't know black people could draw!" That story stuck with me, but now I get to take that personal trauma and use it to heal others.

I structured the talk like a class to keep the kids engaged and got them excited to talk about different cultures, civilizations and forms of art. All around amazing day! Who knew the Ancient Aztecs could get kids so lit?! 😂Thanks again to Monique Jones, Jennifer Cohan, Olive Joseph and Principal Burr! So grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I give it to folks who live in the city. It's so bustling and fun in NYC, but I also almost bust my butt over 10 times just trying to cross the street and find my Uber since the PATH decided to stop working literally as soon as I hit the turnstile.

-___-

 

 I would.

Regardless, I had the pleasure of going to see my friend all the way from from Middle School and Tufts University , Molly, who invited me to her school the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School! I had a great time seeing her and meeting her students! 6th grade is NO joke in all the best ways. High energy, lots of love and lots of enthusiasm for the book. They were curious, passionate, and wildly intelligent. Some important and funny takeaways though:

 

1.) The kids refused to believe I was 26 cuz apparently I look 35. -____- (SHADEEEE)


2.) They all REALLY wanted to know about my dating life. LOL Me too, kids. ME. TOO. One boy even pulled me aside and said he'd hook me up with his sister. 🤣🤣


3.) There's something about an adult doing the Milly Rock, because they lost their minds when I did it. 😂😂😂 


4.) Never underestimate a child, because they will surprise you in the most incredible ways every single time.

Thank you again Molly, and I hope to come back soon!!

 

 

February has been a fantastic anniversary month, and I'm so glad that you all are still joining in the ride along with me. :) 

 

Enjoy this month of love and abundance to the fullest!

 

Lots of love,

 

Rashad 

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