More than 200 people gathered at Sugar Land’s Constellation Field on Saturday, Aug. 25, for a celebration of recovery and artistic expression billed as “The Harvey Experience - one year later” which featured the visual and performing arts of almost 100 area artists.
“I found watching the performances and seeing the visual arts displays to be a very touching and emotional experience,” said Amy Harkins, a licensed psychologist from Greater Houston Easter Seals who served as one of the principal organizers of the event.
Sponsored by Fort Bend Recovers, the event featured an exhibition of original art and live dance, music and poetry performances from Fort Bend County residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Organizers say a central goal of the event was to bring together hurricane survivors to highlight the emotional impact of the storm.
“Many of us working in mental health care realized that during the first year of recovery as people were gutting their homes and rebuilding, mental health was not their first priority. This event was an opportunity for people to address their emotional and spiritual needs through creative expression,” Harkins said.
The event featured a performance by two young singer songwriters, Payton Lamke and Dean Marino, who were both associated with Groove Music School. For children, the event featured interactive painting and playscape projects for children with the theme of building bridges and building connections facilitated by Kalette Alspaugh of Beautiful Feet Studio of Dance and the Arts and Stevie Ballow of Shady Oak Primary School.
Hawkins said she was surprised the range of artistic submission for the art exhibit.
“I couldn’t have imagined a Harvey dance, a Harvey teapot or a Harvey necklaces when we were planning the exhibit,” she said. “It was wonderful to experience the diversity of mediums that people used to express their experiences related to Harvey.”
Among the works featured in the original art showcase was “Love Through the Storm”, a collaborative art piece painted on canvas by 10 seniors from the Mamie George Community Center depicting a glowing heart representing love coming through swirling blues and purples that represented the storm. Creekside Christian Fellowship shared a work titled “Psalm 46:1-3” with a medium of a Sledge Hammer Mounted on Wood. Organizers said the inspiration behind the work was to commemorate the efforts of volunteers who came to gut houses and the stories of appreciation by the people they helped.
The showcase also featured a teapot sculpture by RJ Christensen entitled “Murky Water Teapot”, said to depict the artist’s new respect for churning waters and silent destruction.
“Sometimes by making art, by telling your story, you can feel the positive release that is needed,” Harkins said.
Those who attended also had the opportunity to learn about services available to people still recovering from the storm and meet representatives from the various non-profit, faith-based community organizations and governmental organizations that are member-partners of Fort Bend Recovers.
Fort Bend Recovers is a collaborative network of non-profit, faith-based, governmental and business partners that provide materials, manpower or financial support for Fort Bend County following a natural disaster.
For More information visit www.fortbendrecovers.org