'Express Yourself' opens at University City Public Library
"Express Yourself, Community Civility And Compassion," a collaborative art show running from Aug. 4-24, features a blend of old (over 55) and young (16-21) artists. The idea is to cross generations, having artists work together to explore themes of community, civility and compassion via a variety of media.
Express Yourself: Community Civility And Compassion
When: Aug. 4-24
Where: University City Public Library, 6701 Delmar Blvd.
Information: 314-727-3150 or University City Public Library
This is part of Building Common Ground, a year-long program presented by The University City Public Library, in partnership with AARP Chapter 4048 University City/Clayton. A gallery reception at 2 p.m. Aug. 19 will allow others to meet the artists and learn more about their thoughts on working across generations.
Reference Librarian Kathleen Gallagher, who helped organize Building Common Ground, gave a status report on the program’s progress and the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How has the Building Common Ground program gone?
Gallagher: It has been a great success. For our book discussion series of "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" by Karen Armstrong we had more than 40 participants from a variety of backgrounds. Response to the book and our interactive scholar-led discussions was enthusiastic and generated plenty of thoughtful and enlightening conversation. Our Gaming It events included about 20 U-City teens and young adults and were lots of fun.
Will this be a recurring event?
Gallagher: The BCG programs are funded by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute and are only taking place through 2012. However, we always have new programs on the horizon at UCPL.
We currently have three different book groups organized by the library meeting here monthly: Urban Thought meets on the first Thursday, Readings in History meets on the third Tuesday and the Wednesday Book Club meets every fourth Wednesday, with "Les Miserables."
We also have some exciting author events happening in August: St. Louis poet Matthew Freeman reading from his new book "The Boulevard of Broken Discourse" on Aug. 16 and Essence bestselling author Brenda Hampton reading from her new book "In My Shoes" on Aug 27.
What is next for Building Common Ground?
Gallagher: On Saturday, Oct. 6, we will host a Service Fair in our auditorium. Visitors will have a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities for young adults and senior citizens. In addition, the event will provide an opportunity to register for the City of University City’s annual Make a Difference Day event, taking place late October 2012.
What should people know about the gallery show?
Gallagher: Express Yourself is a unique opportunity for young adults and senior citizens to participate in the conversation about community, civility and compassion through visual art. Artists’ work will hang next to their statements about how their piece relates to the program themes. Visitors will have a chance to respond in writing to each piece as they view the exhibit.
Are you planning to evaluate the program and how it worked out?
Gallagher: Definitely! Evaluation is an important part of all our programming at UCPL.
The goal of Building Common Ground is to engage the public in contemplation and discussion of the importance of community, civility and compassion in their daily lives. UCPL is just one of only 30 libraries nationally to be awarded this grant. The library’s programs are specifically designed to enhance connections among senior citizens and youth in our community.