C3 2017 Meeting 2: Empathy and Empowerment

Summary of C3: Meeting 2, Wednesday February 21st 6pm-8pm
Written by: C3 Intern, Karen Mestizo 

At Wednesday night’s meeting Nina Simon excitingly began with an overview of January’s meeting. You can view the slides here. The recap introduced the three big ideas that C3 members felt the projects should focus on based off of the last meeting’s discussion and survey. The big three ideas were to have visitors:

-Feel empowered to take action and know how to do so.
-Have a visceral, emotional experience that sparks empathy.
-Understand that this is a foster youth-driven project that welcomes and empowers foster youth.

Shortly after, Lauren Benetua, was introduced as the MAH’s newest staff member and Dialogue Catalyst who will be working on the third big idea through community engagement activities with C3ers. Our talented and excited artists who will create three projects around the first two big ideas were then introduced: Melody Overstreet, Elliott Taylor, and Bridget Henry. After introducing themselves, the artists gave a general explanation of what they were going to focus on in their projects. 

Melody will bring light to inspirational actions around the “little things” that can make a big impact on foster youth lives.

Elliott will skillfully create a 3D immersive experience that sparks empathy and shares stories of foster youth resilience. 

Last but not least, Bridget will bring to life experiences of transition age foster youth through artful storytelling that will also spark empathy.  

Foster Youth Museum

This meeting’s focus was to figure out how these projects were going to take form. Project brainstorming workshops took place in the atrium where each artist had a table for discussion. Our partner, The Foster Youth museum (FYM), also had a table where C3 members were able to engage in asking questions and understanding the main sections of their portion of the exhibition. You can view their slides here that show the key sections in their exhibit: Powerlessness, Developmental Disruption, Institutionalization, Loss, Hope and Transformation. They use artifacts, photographs and youth stories to focus on the big idea that visitors understand the authentic experience of foster care from a youth’s perspective. 

Notes from the workshop with Bridget

C3 members got into groups and had the opportunity to contribute to each project by rotating to each table every fifteen minutes so everyone got to contribute to each project. We asked questions like: What does this project look like? What does this project feel like? What could this project include?

I had the privilege of hearing many ideas propelled and thrown around at Bridget’s table. There was discussion about the stories of losing your childhood being represented as metaphors which got people thinking about rollercoasters and kids in adult clothes. Although it was a bit difficult narrowing down what this piece was going to look like from an artistic perspective. Former foster youth and advocates mostly shared hard times that youth experienced. Despite a conclusion not being reached on the physical form, all these shared experiences brought Bridget closer to understanding the complexity of the foster youth experience and the need for specific, metaphorical stories in her project. 

Notes from Elliott’s workshop

While I didn’t get the chance to listen in on Melody and Elliott’s table, in a short artist discussion after the meeting, all artist felt they came out learning something new and were inspired by C3ers’ comments, stories and ideas. You can see all the notes from the workshop here. Perspectives were broaden with the help of our amazing C3 members. After the meeting, Stacey and I met with the artists to narrow down their project idea based on C3 feedback at this meeting. We’re excited to share with you all the direction they are headed and how you can participate in each project’s development at the next meeting Tuesday March 7th! 

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