When I help other people I always get something out of it as well. It’s true that being of service has the added benefit of making you feel better but I don’t think “Oh wow, what a great person I am!” Instead, I get a sense that I belong somewhere and am a part of something. Feeling connected keeps me sane.
I started The Windmill at the Carnegie Library because I wanted a regular place to meet up with people like me. Instead, I met a ton of people not like me with whom I have at least one thing in common: we love to learn. This seems so simple but ask anyone in adult education how many barriers there are to getting an adult to humble themselves and learn new things: IT’S REALLY HARD.
The Windmill is basically a meet up for people to create things. Bring whatever you want to work on and hang out with people who can also motivate, critique, and point you to other influences or resources. Weaving, sketching, digital art—we’ve seen it all there at the Main Library in Pittsburgh from 5-8 on Mondays.
I hear so often “I’m too old” or “It’s too late”. (When I hear that from someone under 35 I’m like… “are you kidding?!” )
Then I met Roxanne and Zach and Andrew, and so many others who— given the time and access create new and wonderful things.
This week, I came into the space and Roxanna said, “I want to learn the iPad.” It floored me. I’ve actually known her since I was 21 years old and working at a community center that delivered lunches in a white van that would struggle to pull over in the narrow streets of South Oakland. Over 10 years later and I see Roxanne again because she checks out a lot of programs at the library. She has been hesitant about the iPad sine I told her we have some she can use to try out. She’s always worked traditionally so this was out of her comfort zone. After a quick tutorial, I watch her craft her first digital illustration—using some inspo from Disney XD
Why am I talking about this in my studio update? Because getting out of my studio and working with others not only makes me feel a sense of community but informs my work. I’m inspired by others and my skills are reinforced when I have to put into words how I create. That being said, if you have skills to share, there’s always room at the table :)