I Am More: Massachusetts

When the I Am More project came to be a year ago, I was determined to complete 16 portraits of subjects with some type of mental suffering, encourage 16 essays to accompany them about how they are more than their suffering, and share them with my community. When I completed Patrick and York last month, rather than feeling accomplishment and finality, I felt emptiness and restlessness. For a year I had always had one more portrait to do and that had sustained me.

Unknown

The question arose last fall, as the finish line seemed to be in sight, what next? It was then that I began thinking about taking the project beyond my community and the people I knew, to a wider sampling of Massachusetts residents. First I needed to see how the portraits I had completed would be received by Cape Ann.

I started sending out emails to local organizations, businesses, and shops and waited to see if there would be any takers of I Am More displays. Every step of this project has surprised me. I expected polite refusals but instead received enthusiastic responses – to a mental health awareness project! Groups and businesses were eager to share the stories of my subjects and invited me to speak to their staff members and boards about the project. To date these are the newest I Am More partners and there are more in the works:

17426325_1854176321274473_1089975844143318305_n1186148_456402257792013_1704386077_n10345746_10155638436859434_6011865578095183089_n12792167_1042237715823015_1295964477468998555_oScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 2.45.56 PM22540125_10154838377486771_2842112488415593894_nScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 2.40.45 PMScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 2.42.58 PM425417_265888233480507_44538168_n11209635_708663292570841_1716569380877690873_n11701117_1449873995319254_5474508874242989625_nScreen Shot 2018-02-15 at 9.31.00 AM26238877_10156887015942004_4223796335970729101_n12249989_427130980819112_383098999811609968_nScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 8.50.04 PMScreen Shot 2018-02-20 at 8.02.17 PM12466165_1109988422353979_7188337786346747888_o12495238_1692999554304885_3026525405882490669_n24161_110167712354569_453422_nScreen Shot 2018-02-22 at 2.31.17 PM17903729_1132302836880384_3896811224005556082_n

Every day I hear from new locations eager to participate and a grand total of one who literally does not have a bare wall and was extremely apologetic. It excites me to no end that there will be art and writing in spaces and on walls that have never held any and that these hosts will help to tackle these important mental health issues and bring them into the light. We are a changing society.

Unknown-1Knowing that these subjects will be in so many wonderful locations gave me the reassurance that it was time to grow and spread out beyond Cape Ann. As I plan the opening exhibit for June 15, 16 and 17 at The Paint Factory here in Gloucester, I will also be looking for the next portrait subjects from communities all over Massachusetts. I’m looking for as much diversity as possible and look forward to covering new issues from subjects from every life stage and learning as much as I can from them.

If you would like to become involved in I Am More: Massachusetts, if you have ideas for funding, partnerships, subjects or programs, you can contact me at amykerrdraws@gmail.com. “I am more” was an idea that helped give me a new direction, and I encourage you to make use of it whether you are a teacher, health care provider, artist, writer, or student. It’s my offering to you, so use it in any way that’s helpful to you and let me know if I can be of help. Thanks for being on the journey with me.

9 thoughts on “I Am More: Massachusetts

  1. Congratulations Amy, going state wise is a great idea, mental health needs the type of innovative ‘opening the door to conversations’ that the I Am More project brings to the table.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Amy: What an incredible project and labor of love “I Am More” is. It is a brilliant idea, and I know it is going to keep growing. I had requested the guidelines so I could write something, but still haven’t had the time (nor the courage) to do it yet. I predict that I will be seeing you somehow connected with Oprah in the coming year or two! Not that it’s important to be connected with Oprah – but she could provide a platform for your work to grow even faster than it is already! Congratulations. ~Terry Del Percio-Piemonte

    Like

    1. That is very kind of you! I’m ready to talk to Oprah, she has inspired me since I was a kid and ever since. I’m happy to work with you on a piece if you want to flesh out any thoughts or ideas. No need to divulge anything you’re not comfortable with – it’s about your strengths and gifts and loves. Whenever you’re ready!

      Like

  3. As I was walking this warm Colorado morning, April 1st, I celebrated you Amy with your project and talents of “I AM More”! Congratulations and thank you for sharing openly your strengths and beauty in finding a way to help others heal and continue to be valued in this life. You are a gift and I am sharing it with my friends here in Montrose. Thanks.

    Tell Iain Bill and I heard the whale songs off the coast of Maui last week with our heads under water. They were singing a happy song!

    Love,
    Sheri Crittendon

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s