The 2009 Artful Dodger project, titled "Window to My World," featured window sashes as the creative base for the theme that each person sees the world from a unique perspective. The goal of the project was to bring to light awareness of mental health issues.
According to earlier stories published in The Messenger, Maureen Seamonds, program coordinator for Iowa Central Community College's Art Department, gave this year's theme its name. "We were talking about different perspectives and how people see things differently," she said, "and it evolved from there."
Although the Artful Dodger project began in 2002, the community art project was tied to a specific cause for the first time last year when artists decorated ribbon-shaped cutouts to raise awareness for breast cancer. The works of art created this year featured a variety of techniques making each window sash unique.
A reception and auction was held at Decker Auditorium on the Iowa Central Community College campus on Saturday, October 3. Those in attendance had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion on the topic of mental health and disabilities. Some of the panelists were from the Friendship Center in Fort Dodge, a drop-in center for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. The Friendship Center is a program of the Webster County Disabilities Alliance. Several of the window sashes were also created by members of the Friendship Center.
Also featured at the event was Agra Vinaude, an Iowa Central graduate and art therapist from Chicago, who spoke about art therapy and offered activities for those in attendance.
New to the event this year, thanks to a $500 donation from the Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust, was a jury by Diane Kunzler, an art educator from Glidden. Artists had the opportunity to meet with Kunzler one-on-one to discuss the artistic merit of their piece. Four merit award winners received a $100 cash prize and two honorable mention recipients were each awarded $50.
At the end of the day the pieces of art were auctioned off with the proceeds benefitting the Friendship Center of the Webster County Disabilities Alliance and the Iowa Central Community College Art Department. Each organization received $750.
Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge and executive director of Young at Art and the Artful Dodger said, "These are amazing, talented artists. This is always a great opportunity for them."
In early November Miller announced that the theme for 2010's Artful Dodger Project will be "Memories." The project will partner with the Webster County Alzheimer's Association. Artists will create scrapbooks with uniquely designed covers in order to focus on issues related to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Fort Dodge Today is pleased to present the 2009 Artful Dodger project: Window to My World.