If Art Is A Meal

10336759_10201889291028999_3195412175452777037_nOn Saturday, September 20th, I attended a middle school gift to their neighborhood in what can be considered a challenged community. The gift was a mini comic book convention with plenty of books by various independent artists, as well as some by DC, and Archie Comics.

The artists who attended (myself included) were men and women, ranging in age from about 20 something up to those with snow white hair. We represented several races and cultures, including the US, parts of Latin America, and England. Most of us worked for some of the major comics, TV, film, and video game companies. Quite a smorgasbord.

We heard a lot of, “thanks,” and “this is fun,” and the kids enjoyed asking questions, drawing with us, and learning how comics are made. Near the end of the day one parent said, “We don’t usually have anything like this come to this neighborhood…” The obvious reason being that it’s a poor section of the city.

I could have said, underprivileged, or ghetto, but that isn’t Comic book pro, Ray Felix and budding young artist.considered PC. Or, perhaps I’m not using those terms because they instantly trigger images that might cause some individuals to shut down, or come to a conclusion about the populace before hearing the facts.

Whatever else might be in areas like this all over the country, there are also hearts and minds and souls yearning to discover, and grow, and perhaps even contribute to a better society. The creative arts is one path to lifting spirits, teaching life lessons, and expanding the human capacity to manifest what did not exist before. Or, sometimes, it is simply a way to maintain a little light and fresh air in our days.

If art is a meal on which we need to feast from time to time … than we have surely left far too many to starve – especially the children.

That is a condition that can be changed, simply by creating events like this, where a few good people can congregate and share and feel good about themselves and others.

Professional artist, Diana Leto.

About SimmonsHereAndNow

Alex Simmons is an award-winning freelance writer, comic book creator, playwright, teaching artist, and educational consultant. He’s written for Disney Books, Penguin Press, Simon and Schuster, DC Comics, and Archie Comics. Simmons is the creator of the acclaimed adventure comic book series, Blackjack. As a teaching artist Simmons has created and taught creative arts workshops for students and educators in the US, Europe, West Indies, and Africa. Simmons has served on panels, and delivered lectures on children’s entertainment mediums, as well as empowering young people through the arts. Simmons founded the annual family event, Kids Comic Con, as well as three comic arts exhibits, which have traveled abroad. He is currently developing a comics and creative arts program for children all over the world. For over 30 years, Simmons has been a member of arts and education boards for the New York State Alliance for Arts Education, the Department for Cultural Affairs, and is on the State Department Speakers Program. As a teaching artist Simmons has been paid to have fun working with youth through the Apollo Theater In-School Arts Program, Henkel McCoy, Upward Bound, New York Council on the Arts, Children’s Art Carnival, Wings Academy, and NYU Creative Arts Team, to name a few. He has been a panelist at many literacy and arts events, and he has been a guest speaker at numerous colleges and educational institutions here and abroad.
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1 Response to If Art Is A Meal

  1. alan reiff says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring piece you wrote. I teach at MS424 and if we could “feed” our students in the way you describe more often, the word ghetto or under-served (under-nurished) would never be an adjective used around here. Thank you for being at our school and for doing what you do.

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