building from the heART: art in the park, northend greenway, and blake somers.

If people seem in these photos to be dressed funny, there’s a reason, and I’ll get to it. But first, let me take you back to the night I first heard The Greatest Idea Ever Hatched by a Ten-Year-Old Kid. (Actually, he was nine at the time.)

Back in May, Brandy and I attended the final meeting of Ignite! Harrisonburg to present our blog to the other attendees there and get some feedback. It went fine. But what I didn’t know was happening that night, and I’m sooooo glad my kids were there to witness it, was that cute, little SUPER-BRAVE Blake Somers was giving a presentation about his own idea for our community. Which is (drums rolling)… a giant memorial ribbon sculpture made entirely of Legos and painted pink in honor of his grandmother, Peggy Somers, who succumbed to breast cancer last summer. When it’s finished, the sculpture will be on display on Harrisonburg’s soon-to-exist Northend Greenway. Of course, most of us were sobbing at the end of his presentation, and he won the People’s Choice Award that night, beating out his own mom. Twice. :) And my kids hugged and high-fived him to pieces and cheered his name in the car the whole way home.

Since then Blake’s been busy scrounging for Legos here and there to amass a collection large enough to build his vision. And he’s getting there.

His most recent Lego-raising endeavor was at Art in the Park this past Saturday. Art in the Park is a monthly event hosted by the Arts Council of the Valley. The goal is to explore social issues through art, and it’s aimed at kids. The next one will be August 25.

This past Saturday, Blake Somers hosted the event. Kids came to build with Legos provided by the Arts Council of the Valley and to drop off any donations. Sharing the event was the Northend Greenway and Suzi Carter. She was there to inform the public about the Greenway: where it’ll be, what it’s for, and when it’ll happen. Personally, I can’t wait for the Greenway–it’s an awesome way to preserve green space, it’s a great use of that land, and it’s one more thing that will make Harrisonburg special. Another reason to love my burg.

Okay, so getting back to the funny clothes. I don’t know if any of you remember Saturday and the weather forecast, but it was calling for upper 70s and a thirty percent chance of rain. So we all dressed in short sleeves and flip flops with no umbrellas or rain coats… and it was a truly icky morning.

I got downtown with the kids at about 8:20 (Art in the Park started at 9) because I wanted to get a few things at the Market first. Sheesh! It was rainy and chilly and windy… people were all huddled up under whatever they could find, and Tom’s coffee stand was slammed. I bought a couple of pairs of earrings from Jan Carter, and she was trying to rig some kind of multiple-umbrella rain barrier because she was getting literally sprayed with rain, the little bitty stinging kind. Ick! So before the kids and I walked over to Art in the Park, we went back to the car in search of more layers. I happened to have a bag of clothing for Good Will in the back of the car, and I was able to grab a sweater or two and a couple of long-sleeve shirts to offer other shivering people. Sarah Murphy had several coats in her car, too, so we managed to get warmed up. Hence the “layered look” you see in some of the photos.

Then we pitched tents. The Arts Council had a couple, and Suzi had a couple, and soon we were all snuggled under there with our strange outfits. And the humidity was causing my Ronald McDonald hair to come out, but I had coffee and Legos and friends, so all was good. And there was even an amusement park feeling because every so often, too much rain would collect on top of the tent and then suddenly splash down on the lucky person who happened to be sitting there or walking by at that moment.

People came and went, playing with Legos (they were building Lego flowers for a garden) and chatting, and even blowing bubbles, which remained on the grass for quite some time, because of (we hypothesized) the moisture and low pressure. At one point two different conversations morphed into one and I swore I heard someone say, “In school you lose all of your youth through your head.” In reality it was probably “all your heat through your head,” but the other statement is equally true (I know, I’m a teacher)… and that’s why grown-ups like Legos, too.

Toward the end of the event, the Daily News Record arrived to interview Blake. The story was in yesterday’s paper; if you missed it, you can go to their website and, for a limited time, search for Blake Somers. Hopefully, the news exposure will bring in some Lego donations. Just so you know, Blake plans to donate to charity any Legos that don’t make it into the sculpture. So this week, rattle around in your attic or garage, call your parents, negotiate with your own children, and see if you can get your hands on some Legos for Blake. If you can, please drop them off between eleven and five at the Arts Council, located at 311 South Main Street. While you’re there, be sure to see the Lego garden created by Harrisonburg kids that day. Or if that doesn’t suit, you can email Brandy at brandysomersphotography@gmail.com to make other arrangements. And then YOU can have a part in a memorial that’s meaningful to our community and to one really special kid.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

One thought on “building from the heART: art in the park, northend greenway, and blake somers.

  1. Pingback: face value: art lotto 2012. | i love my burg.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s