This past Saturday was the launch of 3 Bags in 2 Days new “Art in the Park” initiative! We had been saying for a few months that if 1 person paints, then we will count it as a success….well, after a week of hitting up multiple community meals, churches, and other events with hundreds of flyers and announcements, the moment of truth was about to happen.
We had the main pavilion of Walker Park in Fayetteville reserved from 2-6 pm with dinner being served around 4:30. Come 1:30 as we were loading up to head out, I got an incredibly excited feeling. We pulled up to the park around 1:45 and much to my surprise…there were about 15-20 people waiting there for us to start painting!
It was beautiful before it had even begun.
Within 30 seconds everyone was at our cars unloading all the tubs and boxes. Tons of canvases, paint brushes, hygiene packs, resource flyers, clothing, household items and so much more was being carried to be laid out in the pavilion. When everything was laid out, organized and ready to go…we started!
Words cannot describe what joy filled my heart as the “Art in the Park” mixed CD I had made starting playing and the paint started flowing.
Within minutes, tons of people were sitting down and entering the world of their emotions. People were soon taken away to a different place of healing and restoration while letting the paintbrush be the tool that tells their story.
I looked to my left and there was a group of about 4 little kiddos painting away with the most joyful smiles I have ever seen. Paint all over their clothes and faces but not a care in the world. For just a few minutes…all was well.
As the day progressed onward with the same peaceful and beautiful momentum as the second that it had started, we saw about 60 people take time to paint.
The stories were simply beautiful.
They were stories of giving up life-long addictions, memories of their families, motivations through hardships, joy, pain and sorrow, and so much more.
Each had such emotion and life poured into it that it could not have been anything but a masterpiece. Everyone signed their work to validate it and give ownership. So many smiles and so many stories.
Art in the Park is something that we have been dreaming of for a long time coming and to see it manifested was humbling. I can’t stop thinking about it and the beauty and healing that it entailed. I am already ready for the next Art in the Park. I truly see the value in art and story-telling, more now than ever.
With restoration and healing on my mind,
PS- We have some BIGGGGG thank yous to send! Thanks to the U of A’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity for cooking and serving the yummy dinner! Also, huge thanks to Philip Thomas, of Novo Studio, for documenting the day with beautiful images that truly capture beauty and joy that was present.