Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fayetteville Underground

 What did you miss this First Thursday • video by CE Nelson ©2011

Being a part of the Fayetteville Underground has enriched, challenged and exploded my life in so many ways I sometimes think I am a different person than the one who applied for a studio a year and a half ago. Actually, I am a different person—I’m an Artist. I never felt I could totally claim that title before. I just danced around it saying, I’m a graphic designer, or product designer or handweaver. Then I snuck up on it with textile artist, but now I don’t even need the qualifier. I’m an artist. I owe that to the Underground. If you don’t think that is a big deal, you’ll have to trust me, it is.

The back of my studio door • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

The Underground has given me a place to do my work. A space dedicated to experimentation, creation and production. In other words, a room of my own. I love being able to show up and just start. I spread out my fabrics, I paint, I mix, I sew and cut. Everyday is a filled with the joy of getting to do what I really love to do.

And, if that wasn’t enough, and it almost is, every month hundreds of people show up at our First Thursday event who are truly interested in viewing art. I have had amazing conversations with the people who visit my studio. We talk about color and process and ourselves, but sometimes we have those conversations that make life meaningful. We talk about love, and pain and the meaning of it all. That’s what I really want my work to do—to inspire a deeper conversation. Sometimes people want to take that conversation home and they buy a painting or a scarf. When that happens, I am always grateful in a way I can’ t explain—deeply and profoundly, like we are forever connected even though we may never see each other again.

It's your Move • Dye on Fabric • ©2011 Jennifer Libby Fay

The Fayetteville Underground is an extraordinary place. I’ve only told you part of the story here. I’ll save community outreach, arts education, and neighborhood revitalization for another post. Oh, and I want to show you the book I made at a workshop we sponsored.

Like all community non-profit organizations we need your support to continue. If you live in Northwest Arkansas (or even if you don’t) you can help in two ways—by purchasing art from the artists who show at the Underground. Or you can make a tax deductible donation. Either way, we are truly grateful for your support and encouragement. And if you ever want to have a conversation, I’ll be in my studio.