Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was my toughest year. But It was also the best year.

Like most of us, this last day of 2014 has me reflecting on the year that has past.  It was, personally, the hardest year I can remember. But the pain and loss I felt this year was only part of the story. I also was lucky to be part of some amazing projects and experiences in the York community thanks to the Cultural Alliance, and had the honor to work with colleagues and friends who brought arts and culture to life in 2014. Here's a look back at the year gone by, and a look ahead to what the next year brings.

Valley of Light

"Valley of Light" by Linda Sommer

On February 26th of 2014, my father passed away. Two months later, my mother joined him. It was hard to feel anything but sorrow last winter.  I relied heavily on two things to get me through; my family, and my work. In the midst of my grief, I spotted this painting by Linda Sommer at the York Art Association, and it seemed to embody my feelings churning and swirling inside me. But the best part was the valley of light at the top; a light waiting at the end of the tunnel. And that, I realized is what art does for all of us. It was a great beacon to me during those months, and still is.

Making Change

In the Spring of 2014, the Cultural Alliance headed up a committee of dedicated community partners and volunteers that brought CHANGE to York. The Litter Letter Project brought together people of all walks of life who wanted to help address the littering issues in York through art in the form of six-foot tall typographic letters, filled with trash collected in litter drives throughout York County. I got to meet and work with so many people who love our community, and wanted to use their hands to literally make change happen. And thanks to them, CHANGE is still going strong, slated for an installation on the York College Campus throughout Spring of 2015.

Meeting My Heroes

In 2014, I had the honor of meeting two people who were influential in both the art world and in my life. Ben Folds, an amazing musician and arts advocate, and Jeff Koons, a York County native and the most highly collected (and highly controversial) living artist. It was awe-inspiring (and a little nerve wracking) to share the same physical space as both of these men. Though they are very different individuals who took different paths, they have one thing in common; they both spoke of the influence that teachers had on their life. Each of them said without teachers who tapped into their potential, they would not be where they are today. And it made me realize that the real heroes are the people bringing arts and culture to the lives of our kids, day in and day out.

What Comes Next?

So what happens now? What's 2015 got in store? I'm not sure. But I can tell you that we're ready. The Cultural Alliance has set a goal of $1 Million for our annual campaign, so we can bring even more arts & culture to life in our community. And we know we can't do it without you. So thank you for an amazing and memorable 2014, and for being with us as we start 2015. Happy New Year!