Northshore Mall 2023

Last Friday we loaded up the State House exhibit, waved good-bye to our new Ranger friend, John, in the loading dock, and the next morning arrived at our old faithful location, Northshore Mall. This is our third time at our regional mall, and we’re back in front of Macy’s for a month, with new portraits and our new Spanish translations!

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Massachusetts State House

It was over three years in the making, but this week we were finally able to share I Am More: Massachusetts at the Massachusetts State House for the fifth and final regional exhibit of the state series of portraits and essays, thanks to the legislative sponsorship of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. On Tuesday we were joined by legislators, portrait subjects and guests to celebrate the project. Below are some photos from the day and the speech by Senator Tarr for those who couldn’t be there. We’re grateful for the opportunity and the honor.

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I Am More: Cindy

In the summer of 2021, Reverend Cindy was exploring Rocky Neck in Gloucester when she saw a sign for an art show with an arrow. She followed the dirt road which brought her to the Paint Factory, and then followed the arrows upstairs. When she told me this story later she described her astonishment at everything she was encountering…”The view…and then the buildings…and then Ocean Alliance and the whales and the drones…and then I Am More!!” I received an email from her asking if we could bring the exhibit to the community of her church in Boxborough, MA, which we did in September, and during her remarks at the reception she astonished me with her story:

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I Am More: Karen

I first met Karen when she agreed to host an I Am More exhibit in the busy lobby of North Shore Music Theatre, where she is the General Manager. She is open and easy with her generosity, and warmly welcomed us. I thought that would be the end of our connection, but as the pandemic unfolded in 2020, and I watched her from afar be forever changed by the events, I did the only thing an artist can do, and later handed her a surprise drawing to help her heal. Eventually it dawned on me that Karen was an obvious I Am More portrait subject, and she kindly agreed to participate.

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Help Needed

This year there were 11 I Am More exhibits in three states, including nine shopping malls, a retirement community, and a library. By the end of the year six new portrait subjects will have joined the project. I shared the message of the project on tv news, public radio, and a magazine. And in 2023 there is much more to come, but we need your help.

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I Am More: Karla

I met Karla at an I Am More reception where she was representing one of my favorite organizations, The NAN Project. As the host was speaking about the importance of bringing the subject of mental health out into the open, I could see out of my peripheral vision this young woman nodding, knowingly. During the reception, Karla, the host, and I had an enlightening conversation about cultural limitations in sharing our stories, and I am very lucky and grateful that they each agreed to participate in the project with new portraits. Karla is up first, and working with her started with eating ice cream on a farm while chickens mingled around our feet, followed soon after by a jump on a trampoline with some of her favorite young friends, and she did not hold back, tossing herself around like a rag doll, to their delight. She and The NAN Project are having a tremendous impact in area schools, promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and I’m grateful that they provide all of the emergency number cards for our exhibits. Read on for our first bilingual essay:

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Sargent Memorial Library

Yesterday Iain and I returned to the Acton-Boxborough community where we previously lived in our converted barn and raised Dylan for the first eleven years of her life. We had been invited to create an exhibit at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough (our sixth library) for the month of September, but first we had to make a side trip to Cape Cod.

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