Updated Thu, Jul 26, 2012 2:42 pm
Updated Thu, Jul 26, 2012 2:42 pm
Patty Mitchell of Athens is an Obama supporter.
For some people, backing a candidate for president would mean donating money for the campaign or attending a rally or putting up a yard sign.
But Mitchell, who's an artist, wanted to do something different, thus was born the "Decorate Celebrate" project.
Mitchell and partner Robert Lockheed have set up shop at the Union Street Art Gallery "making art in support of the re-election of President Obama" and they're encouraging others "to organize their own community art projects."
"I've always wanted to do something for Obama and I wanted it to have the spirit that he has about being positive and moving forward and it's very grassroots, too. We just asked people to bring in a whole bunch of donated materials and we're sewing and we're seeing what happens," said Mitchell.
Mitchell says they're using an artist-in-residence approach, encouraging people to drop by to make art.
Banners, for example, and wall hangings, even a hand-stitched messenger bag.
"I volunteered to be an artist in residence for the week, so that means that I'm dedicated to being in this space from 10 in the morning to 10 at night Monday to Friday. And I'm facilitating and orchestrating the event. As an artist in residence, that's basically how I function with the volunteers and the community that come in," said Mitchell.
With buttons, fabric, stitching, glue, and love we can change the world, says Mitchell.
"People can come in and create do anything from donate something and just chit chat, there's gluing, there's stitching, you don't have to have a lot of skills, but skills help," said Mitchell. "We have some sewers and right now I'm just looking at a room of young people. older people, everyone is welcome and the project will shift and shape itself to the people who are participating."
Donated beads, clothing, belts, CDs, string, glue and "things that sparkle" are the materials being repurposed for this event.
"It's like, well, what is possible? What can we make? I think it's really empowering when people make their own stuff and that we can say 'well, we have the power to make whatever we want, we can make change, we can make something beautiful and so far, I'm just stunned by the participation and at how beautiful. This space went from a black box and I'm looking around at all kinds of color and decoration. It's just really positive," says Mitchell.
Mitchell has done this kind of thing before.
She's the founder of Passion Works, a studio for disabled artists.
"Decorate Celebrate" will conclude with a parade tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. and a reception afterward at the Athens Obama office.
"We're thinking that anywhere, we're thinking about front porches as the next gallery so we could hang the banners from individual houses and think of all of Athens as our gallery," said Mitchell. Out of the windows, maybe, at the Democratic headquarters. We're also thinking at the Farmer's Market, they have a booth, so anywhere that people are going to be talking about Obama, we want to make it so it's beautiful and positive and celebratory and you can see evidence of the people in materials that are being shared."
Are the Republicans planning anything like this for their candidate?
No, says Athens County party chairman Pete Couladis.
However, he did say they will be opening a Mitt Romney office in early August.