Staff Spotlight: Patricia Bowe
This week Angelica, our Administrative Assistant and Patricia Bowe, our former intern and
current School Age Program Coordinator talk about arts accessibility,
getting acquainted with our youth, and printmaking.
A: Tell us about yourself and your role at the Community Art Center.
P: I started as an intern this past January, this past semester and then, Justina offered me a position just doing outreach and scheduling, just to support the online transition. My name is Patricia from Boston. I grew up in Hyde Park. I am about to graduate from Lesley University with a degree in Psychology and I hope to go to graduate school soon for either Art Therapy or Social Work.
A: How did you get involved with the Community Art Center?
P: When I was looking for internships for school, they said that a lot of Lesley Interns have been at the Art Center over the years. I think they have a longstanding partnership and I definitely wanted to do something arts-based and I also wanted to work with children, because I’ve worked with children but not in a very clinical setting. I wanted to see if it was a population I wanted to work with and I do. I learned that through this internship that I am definitely interested in working with children.
A: Is there anything in particular that drew you to the Art Center?
P: I liked the Art Center when I looked into it, because honestly, there aren’t a lot of community-based organizations. I have worked at other nonprofits before, but I was really drawn to how strong the community is there and the history of it being a neighborhood art center. Even though it has grown so much, it has stayed true to that. I feel like working here is really comfortable as an intern and I’m sure it will be as a staff member. There is a lot of intentionality into how different communities, communities of staff, communities of children are built there. I have not experienced that in another organization. I didn’t grow up with any art at all, because I grew up in BPS and only took one art class in high school and it was super technical and photorealistic and I didn’t really get to know myself as an artist til college. It’s just cool that kids can get to know themselves as expressionists early on.
A: Previously as an intern, you worked with kids in the classroom, how do you exercise creativity in the classroom and outside of it, in your own life as someone who is an artist?
P: I’ve noticed and this is common with children, I think a lot of kids want to do photorealistic art and a lot of them were really worried about “oh can you do this for me? I’m not making this look right” and encouraging them, assuring them that “nobody else can see things the way you see them. Nobody experiences the world exactly the way you do so that is why your art is important.” Guiding them, “what shapes are in this? What do you see when you see this?” rather than doing anything for them. That feels good because little by little, they would start taking agency over the work and then they would be really proud of it. I try to do the exact same thing when I make art. I really don’t make art that looks realistic, it’s just more about process for me and I use all kinds of mediums, I guess. I am lucky that I go to Lesley, because half of it is an art school so there are a lot of opportunities to make art in courses even if they are Psychology classes. My favorite mediums are embroidery & stitchwork and Water Color.
A: I love embroidery! I’m new to it, but it’s really fun!
P: It’s so slow. It really forces you to slow down.
A: What is your favorite part of working with youth?
P: My favorite part about working with youth is….there are so many things I like about it. I think my favorite part is that there’s a sense of realness and genuineness you don’t get when you talk to adults. Let me rephrase. When I started working at the Art Center, at first it was hard for me to make relationships with the young people, and then when I looked at why that was, I realized I was not being genuine with myself and with others and then in order to build those relationships with young people, you really have to be a genuine and honest place with yourself. At the Art Center, I know young people there are not afraid to tell staff how they feel and that is built into the culture here. And as a result, I know I can be honest with young people.
A: Yeah I think that we work with people who all genuinely believe that kids are their own people with their own agency and autonomy and ideas.
A: Change of topic, but where can people find your art?
P: I don’t have any social media for my art. I’m not good at it or showing who I am through it. I’ve tried but it hasn’t really worked. I’m excited to be on staff now, because I’m going to start participating in the prompts you send out.
A: What have you been up to during this time?
P: I’ve definitely used schoolwork as an outlet to distract myself. I’ve also tried to move more, doing walking, running, and yoga, stuff like that. It definitely helps my mood being stuck inside. I also started Printmaking recently. My friend sent me a Gelli Plate in the mail.
A: So cool. I tried to make one myself but it didn’t work the way I wanted it to and I was upset because I spent money on glycerin and gelatin.
P: Do you still have glycerin?
P: I used to use it to dry out leaves and pine needles, to make art with.
A: I should try it. I love printmaking, it’s just so expensive no matter the type. Gelli plates are cool though because you can use them for a really long time and get a bunch of prints out of them.
P: It’s my first time using one. I thought that if I didn’t use it really fast the paint would dry down, which I don’t think is true, which is cool because I am generally super slow when I make art, but I made a bunch of prints super fast cause I was afraid they’d dry.
A: It’s such a long process, especially with linoleum or wood. I think you can buy a medium that slows down the paint drying.
P: Linoleum is my least favorite type of artmarking. I did in my high school art class and it was supposed to be really photorealistic.
A: Ahhh. It's so fun though...despite the planning involved.
A: Well, I appreciate your time. Thank you!
P: Thank you!