Welcome 2021!

Welcome 2021!

Let’s Plan to Be Hopeful in 2021!

I’m so tired of hearing the word “unprecedented”, aren’t you? Yes, 2020 was an unusual year, to be sure. We had to invent new ways of doing just about everything. We didn’t get to go to the places we love in and around Southeast Michigan. We mostly just stayed in the house. With a new vaccine for COVID-19 out, I think we are all more hopeful for the coming year.

One thing I learned in 2020 was that being flexible is essential to our new way of living. As science progresses and we learn new, vital information about the COVID-19 virus, we often have to change our ideas, rules, budgets and expectations. Being flexible means that we do get to do some things, just not in the ways that we often expected to be doing them.

If you are like me, you get excited about things to come. Another thing I learned in 2020 was that if I had something to look forward to, it kept me going, especially following the death of a loved one. This pandemic has been so cruel. When people experience the loss of a loved one, due to quarantine, they must remain isolated. Being around other people and getting out of the house are often ways that people can cope with a loss and move on after the death of someone close to them. But this pandemic has denied us this fundamental coping skill.

As any small child who has a birthday during the Christmas season can tell you, your birthday is often overlooked. I spent almost every childhood Christmas and birthday at my Aunt Dottie’s house surrounded by a huge extended family who all got together twice a year. While everyone was excited to see each other and catch up on the year’s activities and mile stones, my grandmother and Aunt Dottie focused on doing their best during this holiday gathering to make me feel that my birthday was also a special occasion. They would often bake a small birthday cake just for me, have me unwrap a few presents after dinner, and force everyone in the house to stop talking and sing happy birthday to me. To lose my Aunt Dottie over the holidays, at a time when everyone would traditionally be gathering together at her home makes her loss that much more difficult.

My Aunt Dottie was not a big person. She was just 5 foot 2 and probably weighed 90 pounds, but her laughter could fill the whole room. She was the life of every party and a friend to all. She was always ready to listen to your problems and offer her love and advice. I know that she would not want me to sit around mourning her loss. She would want me to celebrate her life and create ways for the world to be a better place for everyone.

For 2021, here at the Village Arts Factory, we are ready to do our best at creating things for us all to look forward to. This month we are rolling out our first social media contest! Follow us on Instagram for the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to a participating Village Arts Factory artist. Some VAF artists are holding small classes with face coverings and social distancing. You could use this gift certificate to take a class. Don’t feel comfortable coming in to take a class? You could use your gift certificate to buy a beautiful work of art from D&M Art Studio to brighten your home. Or you could reduce your stress levels at  Kelly Darke’s Mindful Art Center with a beautiful embroidery work of art. Do you enjoy dreamy, vegan bath, and skincare products? Your skin will thank you for trying out Privileged Cosmetics. Or you could treat yourself with beautifully crafted jewelry from Kelly Caroline Henna. There are lots of ways to spend that $25 and you have all of 2021 to do it. Check out our website for a full list of VAF artists who are participating in our January Instagram giveaway and contest rules.

Are you looking for a comfortable place to walk during the cold, Michigan winter? We will be hanging a new art exhibit in January (details to come in our February newsletter). Come walk our wide hallways and enjoy the beautiful art exhibit out of the elements. Our doors are open from 9 am until 5 pm most weekdays. Not comfortable venturing indoors? We invite you to walk around our Cut Short Veterans Memorial Garden. If you park in our main parking lot, Cut Short is just a short walk up the hill.

We are planning a small outdoor fundraising event for the Spring. Be sure to follow us on our social media accounts Twitter: @PartnershipArt, Instagram: @village_arts_factory, and for updates on this and other events that we are cautiously planning, while staying flexible, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The only thing we can say for certain is that we plan to stay optimistic and make this trip around the sun as enjoyable as possible. Because for me, that’s the best way to honor the memory of my sweet Aunt Dottie. Stay hopeful my friends.

-Wendy Harless, Executive Director

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