Report date
May 2019
Learning Log

Here it is. The end of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here’s the part where I’m supposed to sum it all up into a tidy, insightful, and well crafted submission that in many polished words, spells out “closure”.

It’s a difficult time to come up with that, as this is the month that I set the table for dinner, and then flipped it over and headed back into the kitchen to make something else. Figuratively. Of course.

I end two life-altering opportunities this month- my career at the arts council on the first day of May, and my Bush Fellowship on the last day of it. What does that leave me with?

Family. It leaves me with those that bind me to a sacred contract with this earth, and that contract is to leave more love behind than there was when I arrived here. For them.

Friends. It leaves me with people who have brought connection, curiosity, laughter, commitment, and inspiration to my life.

Knowledge. It leaves me with a wealth of knowledge that I did not have before. Some I did not know I needed. Some That changed my very foundation. Some that I don’t know how I lived without.

Memories. It leaves me with memories that I never imagined I would possess. Memories of places and people far and near. Moments shared with others, and time spent alone, trying to recognize myself. Accomplishments, failures, hearty laughs and cries. Moments when things came full circle, times I had to walk away leaving loose ends behind.

Self confidence. It leaves me with the confidence that I needed to find my place in this world. The validation I needed to change it, and the assurance that I was up to such a daunting task.

It gave me enough self confidence to walk away from what I thought was everything, and the wisdom to recognize that it’s somehow, all still intact.

That’s what the fellowship journey has been for me. An amplification of my existing life. An acceleration of my ability to learn from it, and some extra experiences that I never imagined I’d have access to sprinkled in.

As far as things I wish I would have known when I started, I don’t have any grave regrets or grave warnings to my past self, or two a new fellow. Perhaps just just some insight like this- The fellowship will not turn you into a different person, and there is no need for it to. Your fellowship journey will be an extension of who you already are as a human being, with the added resources to grow and develop the you that already exists at an accelerated pace.

During my fellowship, one thing that surprised me, though it really shouldn’t have, was that my fellowship was not arts based, but people based. Art was/is just the tool to effect the people. Also, as a graffiti artist, it took me a while to recognize that art isn’t necessarily location based, but people based as well. Although muralists need walls to create with, creative change makers really only hearts and minds to mold.

Murals will always be an effective tool in my toolbox, but it won’t restrict me. I will find a way to empower a kid through their creativity, even when he’s confined by white walls without paint. Empowerment isn’t place based, it’s people based.

These are the things that the Bush Fellowship has brought me. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.
Wopila/ thank you.