Friday, June 15, 2012

We need to make our welfare system work!

I just posted a message on the Obama/Biden website. They asked for opinions and I tend to have a few of those. Among the many issues that concern me, one of the most glaring is dealing with poverty in our country. It impacts the future of our children and unchecked recidivism in our prisons.

Sooo, this was the message I sent which is not likely to be read. However, some of us never let that deter us:

We need a drastic overhaul of the way welfare is handled in the U.S. It prevents people from working instead of encouraging it. Get a job, even a temporary one, and the family is off the rolls without a safety net. Have a man in the house? That is usually the kiss of death. No welfare. Families split up. There is no incentive to keep a father and mother in the household to raise their children together. Men are diminished in status and responsibility.

As a social worker in South Central L.A. in 1966, I saw this and was disturbed by it then. If anything, with the limits that were installed under Pres. Clinton, the system became even more horrific for those who live at its mercy.

A change in the welfare system could mean a radical, uplifting opportunity for our underclass. Make it a safety net for those who work, not a walk of shame for those who can't make it. If Pres. Obama wants a legacy, this could be it. In addition, of course, to healthcare reform.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Paper Dolls -- Hands that rock the cradle rock when they paint

Jill Kettles put together "Paper Dolls," the art exhibit that is opening at Defoor Centre this Sunday night, 5-7 p.m. "No one is drawing with their blood, no one is slitting their wrists," she promises. "There is a lot of hope, a nice colorful group in a good mood."

Helen Ferguson Crawford leads the pack of emerging women artists selected to star in this summer show. Her sophisticated work teases the eye with abstract landscapes that are built on wide open spaces and lush, gentle colors. Trained as an architect, there is hardly a building in sight. Perhaps that is the ultimate in escape, open fields where it's okay to run and shout. Pinks and peaches feed her palette and warm the soul.

Casey Olsen, a self taught artist who knows her bayous captures the beauty of, again, the wide open spaces. Hers are more conventional, but also inviting to the spirit of adventure. It is hard to resist the sheer beauty of the scenery she has selected. Her presentation makes you want to be there. Olsen has a definite gift for pairing color and composition.

But it's Terri Levine's work that welcomes you into the centre. Her paintings laugh and sing and shout at you. "Jazz Man" plays loud, wonderful music that you can almost hear. 

And her series of small, almost raucous paintings are conversations and events in themselves. These are another example of how less can certainly be more. The lively, active inventions that Levine shares with us could be acquired separately -- but like separating a flock of ducks -- why would anyone want to do that? They are so wonderful together.


An exotic guest, Adriana Antequera is flying in from Venezuela. She and Kittles found each other on the internet. Paintings she has packed in her suitcase -- landscapes from her part of the world will be part of the show.

Kittles shares that she found most of the participating artists online. And, I found her and this interesting show online, too.