Last night at The 224 EcoSpace in a crowd of change makers, community, and religious leaders, artists, and business people, Tao and I received an award for our service and leadership in the community. The 2017 Catalyst Awards for Transformational Leadership were presented to six Unsinkable Spirits in the Community. Unsinkable Spirits was the theme of the evening, spun off the 224's mascot, the rubber ducky. The organizations' mascot was inspired by Tao's iconic Rubber Ducky series of paintings.
A couple of years ago, Tao started that series, The Unsinkable Spirit, intended for a future children’s book. It’s inspired by the idea that a rubber ducky stays the course amidst any turmoil and despite all obstacles in the stormy seas. The rubber ducky floats and smiles, surrounded by massive waves. He just keeps going. That is what we must do in life and what we do as artists and humble change-makers. Tao has painted many of these, and most have sold to private collectors. Last night, Tao and I gifted the painting below to Rev. Dr. Shelley Best, CEO of The 224.
Our experience with the 224 as an organization is wonderful so far. We had the pleasure of facilitating a community mural on the back of their expansive building last year in collaboration with the CT Center for Nonviolence. The mural, The Universe is on the side of Justice, was a shining example of co-creating for the community and sharing essential ideas. Check out this making-of video for more information on that mural.
The closing from my gratitude remarks last night: There are times we give to the community and times the community has given back to us. It’s a living, breathing, thriving energy that surrounds us. We have unsinkable spirits because of the creative community of Hartford, all the inspiring, hard-working people we’ve met over the years, by the grace of God and this beautiful universe. Tao and I are truly grateful. Thank you again for this esteemed award. May we all enjoy the practice of maintaining our own unsinkable spirit.
My gratitude speech. Photo by Rachel Sclare.
They made this cool banner! The 224 EcoSpace has these throughout their 30,000 square foot building on Farmington Ave in Hartford.