Interview with my Change Partner for the Leeway Art & Change Grant

Another new beginning- a very exciting one!

In November I was notified that I received a Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant . The grant funds women and transgender artists in projects that create social change in their community.  Art as social action as been a growing passion of mine over the years.

This particular project is a series of collaborative printmaking workshops with teenage mothers who meet at The Garage in Kennett Square.

We will be using recycled infant and toddlers clothing as the print matrix to be inked up and then printed.  These collographic plates (the clothing itself) and the prints pulled from them will serve as a vehicle for sharing stories about experiences of responsibility and lost youth, and the joys and challenges of motherhood at any age.

Sailor Suit II, 2002
Collagraph with acrylic & graphite on paper
30″ x22″
©2011NanciHersh

Yesterday I met Lisa MacMain, a creative and passionate woman, who is the graduate student that initiated this group of young women from the community.  We chatted, brain stormed and planned for the subsequent workshops that will begin later this month.

Here are somethings that I learned about Lisa (for one she used to have her own Art Studio), my Change Partner.

1.  I love that you have an art background… how and when did the transition to social work occur? 
I come from an artistic gene pool; for many years i had an art studio where I created mosaics and sculpted one of a kind santas. i also have a passion for textiles.  I am fascinated with “outsider art” that is created by untrained artists and love to use found objects to create one of a kind pieces.  

2. Where are you going to school? 
I am about to graduate from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work with an MSW (master’s of social work) I am also working toward a M.Div. (master’s of Divinity) at Palmer Theological Seminary. I am a 1986 graduate of Elizabethtown College with a bachelor’s in elementary education.

3. You said that you started out as an intern at the Garage… how did you originally hook up with them?  
My internship at the Garage is a requirement for my master’s in social work.. When I graduate in May 2011, I am going on staff with Young Life, a worldwide, non-denominational Christian ministry that reaches out to teenagers.  YoungLives is the branch of this ministry that serves teen moms. 

4.  What can you tell me about the work you are doing with the Teen Moms at the Garage  …. and do you have a name for your group? 
I absolutely LOVE my work with the teen moms of Kennett and feel privileged to be working with this amazing group of young women. I was given 5 names when I started in September 2010 and the group has grown very rapidly to 20 young women with babies that range in age from 2 months to 4 years. I help teen moms get connected with social services, do counseling and plan social events, run discussion groups and a mentoring program.   On the third Wednesday of each month we have “Club” at the Presbyterian Church of Kennett where we have dinner, speakers, games, door prizes, a spiritual talk and free diapers. 

How have you used your art or your work to connect to others in ways that have created change or transformation?

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